The implications of the research emphasize the importance of reducing the rate of hospital acquired infections and protecting patients. Rates of microbial infections in hospitals, although falling due to improved hygiene, remain problematic. Here Digital Journal has recently reported on a study designed to fully map out the diverse range of microbes
found in the hospital setting for the first time, beginning in Chicago.
The study focuses on specific bacterial diseases and those admitted to hospitals with spinal cord injuries. Data for the multi-center study was drawn over a long time period (over thirty years) and included information from the U.S. National Spinal Cord Injury Database
. In communication with Digital Journal, lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Schwab summarized the research: "These findings provide the first extensive prospective analytical evidence that hospital-acquired infections are predictive for worse outcome with respect to both survival and long-term functional outcome after spinal cord injury."
For the research, information relating to 3,834 patients with spinal cord injury was examined. Of these, 1,203 patients met the specific study criteria. Within this set, 564 patients developed pneumonia or wound infections during their acute medical and rehabilitative inpatient care. Because spinal cord injuries can also cause a
“paralysis” of the immune system patients are not able to compensate even long-term for the effect of a pneumonia acquired during the acute phase.
The researcher explained further that hospitals need to have strategies in place to protect patients from injections: “We hope the study will inspire clinicians worldwide to rethink treatment algorithms to improve medical care", Dr. Schwab adds.
The research findings are published in
the journal Neurology
, in a paper called "Long-term functional outcome in patients with acquired infections after acute spinal cord injury."