Nosocomial infection and multidrug-resistant bacteria surveillance in intensive care units: a survey in France.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2005 Jan;26(1):13-20. Links
L'Hériteau F, Alberti C, Cohen Y, Troché G, Moine P, Timsit JF.
C-CLIN Paris Nord, Paris VI University.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate nosocomial infection (NI) surveillance strategies in French ICUs and to identify similar patterns defining subsets within which comparisons can be made.

DESIGN: A questionnaire was sent to all French ICUs, and a random sample of nonresponders was interviewed.
PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred ninety-five responder ICUs (69%) in France.
RESULTS: In 282 ICUs (71%), a dedicated ICU staff member was responsible for infection control activities. The microbiology laboratory was usually in the hospital (90%) and computerized (94%) but issued regular hospital microbiology records in only 48% of cases. Patients receiving mechanical ventilation, central venous catheterization, and urinary catheterization were 90%, 79%, and 60%, respectively. Patients were screened for carriage of multidrug-resistant bacteria on admission and during the stay in 70% and 60% of ICUs, respectively, most often targeting MRSA. Quantitative cultures were used to diagnose ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in 90% of ICUs, including distal specimens in 80% and bronchoscopy specimens in 60%. Quantitative central venous catheter (CVC)-segment cultures were used in 70% of ICUs. All CVCs were cultured routinely in 53% of the ICUs. Despite wide variations in infection control and surveillance strategies, multiple correspondence analysis identified 13 key points (4 structural variables and 9 variables concerning the diagnosis of VAP, the surveillance and diagnosis of catheter-related and urinary tract infections, and the mode of screening of MRSA carriers) that categorize the variability of French ICUs' approaches to NIs.
CONCLUSION: This study revealed profound differences in NI surveillance strategies across ICUs, indicating a need for caution when using NI surveillance data for comparisons and benchmarking.