Staphylococcus aureus infections kill an estimated 12,000 inpatients per year and severely burden U.S. hospitals, according to recent research. The research didn't distinguish between nosocomial infections and those that patients had before admission. Nor did it measure deaths occurring after discharge, so the mortality figure probably underestimates the number of deaths linked to S. aureus.
Researchers analyzed discharge data from 994 hospitals in 28 states in 2000 and 986 hospitals in 33 states in 2001. The data included about 14 million inpatient hospital stays. To determine the burden of S. aureus infections on hospitals, researchers looked for an association between S. aureus infections and length of stay, total charges, and in-hospital mortality.
An S. aureus infection was reported as a discharge diagnosis in almost 1% of patients. Compared with patients without an S. aureus infection, those with the infection had on average three times the length of hospital stay (14.3 days versus 4.5 days), three times the total charges ($48,824 versus $14,141), and five times the risk of in-hospital death (11.2% versus 2.3%).
Researchers say that efforts to prevent S. aureus infections could pay huge dividends in terms of patient well-being, cost savings, and reduced use of resources.