Bid to Cut Hospital Infections

Article excerpt

Byline: JENNY HOPE

AT LEAST 60,000 people each year pick up a new infection - some of which are life-threatening - when they go into hospital.

Now doctors are testing out a new 'clever' version of a medical device used thousands of times every day in a bid to cut the toll of hospital-generated illness.

They plan a trial of an antibiotic-coated catheter which forms a germ-free barrier at the point where it enters the body.

Catheters are tubes passed into the body along one of its passages, such as a vein into the heart or the urethra to allow urine to flow out of the bladder. Leeds General Infirmary is the first hospital where new ones will be used in the intensive care unit.

A major survey from the Public Health Laboratory Service published in May showed one in five intensive care patients suffers a hospital-acquired infection - the highest risk of all patients.

But even people in general wards who have a device inserted during their stay - such as a central drugs line or a catheter tube - are seven times more likely to develop an infection than other patients. …