The prevalence of nosocomial infection in intensive care units in Europe. Results of the European Prevalence of Infection in Intensive Care (EPIC) Study. EPIC International Advisory Committee

JAMA. 1995 Aug;274(8):639-44.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired infections and the risk factors for these infections, identify the predominant infecting organisms, and evaluate the relationship between ICU-acquired infection and mortality.

Design: A 1-day point-prevalence study.

Setting: Intensive care units in 17 countries in Western Europe, excluding coronary care units and pediatric and special care infant units.

Patients: All patients (> 10 years of age) occupying an ICU bed over a 24-hour period. A total of 1417 ICUs provided 10 038 patient case reports.

Main outcome measures: Rates of ICU-acquired infection, prescription of antimicrobials, resistance patterns of microbiological isolates, and potential risk factors for ICU-acquired infection and death.

Results: A total of 4501 patients (44.8%) were infected, and 2064 (20.6%) had ICU-acquired infection. Pneumonia (46.9%), lower respiratory tract infection (17.8%), urinary tract infection (17.6%), and bloodstream infection (12%) were the most frequent types of ICU infection reported. Most frequently reported micro-organisms were Enterobacteriaceae (34.4%), Staphylococcus aureus (30.1%;[60% resistant to methicillin], Pseudomonas aeruginosa (28.7%), coagulase-negative staphylococci (19.1%), and fungi (17.1%). Seven risk factors for ICU-acquired infection were identified: increasing length of ICU stay (> 48 hours), mechanical ventilation, diagnosis of trauma, central venous, pulmonary artery, and urinary catheterization, and stress ulcer prophylaxis. ICU-acquired pneumonia (odds ratio [OR], 1.91; 95% confidence interval[Cl], 1.6 to 2.29), clinical sepsis (OR, 3.50; 95% Cl, 1.71 to 7.18), and bloodstream infection (OR, 1.73; 95% Cl, 1.25 to 2.41) increased the risk of ICU death.

Conclusions: ICU-acquired infection is common and often associated with microbiological isolates of resistant organisms. The potential effects on outcome emphasize the importance of specific measures for infection control in critically ill patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / mortality
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / mortality
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Utilization
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Mycoses / drug therapy
  • Mycoses / epidemiology
  • Mycoses / mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents