Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Healthcare-Associated Infections in US Hospitals

N Engl J Med; 2018 Nov 1; Magill, O’Leary, et al

Healthcare-associated infections declined significantly in US hospitals from 2011 to 2015, a recent study found. At Emerging Infections Program sites in 10 states, researchers recruited up to 25 hospitals in each site state, prioritizing hospitals that had participated in the 2011 point-prevalence survey. Each hospital selected 1 day on which a random sample of patients was identified for assessment. Researchers found:

  • In 2015, a total of 12,299 patients in 199 hospitals were surveyed vs 11,282 in 183 hospitals in 2011.
  • Fewer patients had healthcare-associated infections in 2015 than in 2011, due largely to reductions in the prevalence of surgical-site infections (SSIs) and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Pneumonia, gastrointestinal infections, and SSIs were the most common healthcare-associated infections.
  • Patient risk of having a healthcare-associated infection was 16% lower in 2015 than in 2011.


Magill SS, O’Leary E, Janelle SJ, et al. Changes in prevalence of health care-associated infections in U.S. hospitals. N Engl J Med. 2018;379:1732-1744. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1801550.