Infection prevention in the intensive care unit

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2009 Sep;23(3):703-25. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2009.04.012.


Hospital-acquired infections have profound social, economic, and personal costs to patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Numerous risk factors, such as poor nutrition and hyperglycemia, directly involve patients. Meanwhile, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, and appropriate hospital staffing can impact ICU infection rates. A multidirectional approach-including continuing staff education, minimizing risk factors, and implementing guidelines established by national committees-is necessary to decrease infections such as catheter-related bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and Clostridium difficile. Infection-control committees can assist in implementing policies. This is an active area of research and we anticipate continued advancements to improve patient care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / prevention & control
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / epidemiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / prevention & control*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control