The reported incidence of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in the neurointensive care unit (NICU) ranges from 20% to 30%. HAIs in US hospitals cost between $28 and $45 billion per year in direct medical costs. These infections are associated with increased length of hospital stay and increased morbidity and mortality. Infection risk is increased in NICU patients due to medication side-effects, catheter and line placement, neurosurgical procedures, and acquired immune suppression secondary to steroid/barbiturate use and brain injury itself. Some of these infections may be preventable but many are not. Their appearance do not always constitute a failure of prevention or physician error. Neurointensivists require indepth knowledge of common nosocomial infections, their diagnosis and treatment, and an approach to evidence-based practices that improve processes of care and reduce HAIs.
Keywords: ICU infections; critical care management; neurosurgical care; nosocomial infections; postoperative infection.
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