Sepsis, pneumonia kill 48,000 patients annually: study

Hospital-acquired infections of sepsis and pneumonia killed approximately 48,000 patients in 2006, finds a new study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, NJ.

According to a study abstract, researchers analyzed data from 69 million hospital discharge records in 40 states and determined the two most common hospital-acquired infections, sepsis and pneumonia -- both of which often are caused by microbes including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA -- also increase health care costs by an estimated $8.1 billion each year.

Patients infected with sepsis following surgery typically were required to extend their hospital stay by 11 days. Approximately 20 percent of these patients died from the infection. Hospital-acquired pneumonia infections extended patient hospital stay by an average of 14 days and resulted in death for 11 percent of patients.

Research indicated these infections often were acquired in hospitals due to lapses in sterile techniques.

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