The folks who rate products from cars to toasters have taken a look at the infection rates of hospital intensive care units for children. They didn’t like what they found in Kansas City.
Consumer Reports has given the ICU at Children’s Mercy Hospital its second-lowest score for preventing hospital-acquired central-line infections. The score indicates that the infection rate was higher than the national average.
Children’s Mercy was among 24 hospitals, including Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, getting that score from the magazine.
Central-line catheters deliver nutrients, fluids and drugs to critically ill patients. If proper sterile techniques aren’t used to insert them and to keep them clean, the catheters can spread deadly infections throughout a patient’s body. Up to 25 percent of such infections are fatal.
Children’s Mercy said it is trying to lower its infection rate by standardizing the care of central lines throughout the hospital.
“We recognize that we still have room for improvement and are working hard to decrease the occurrence of central-line associated bloodstream infections,” the hospital said in a statement. “They will continue to be a top priority, and we will not be satisfied until our number is zero.”
Consumer Reports looked at 92 pediatric intensive care units for which sufficient data on infection rates were available. Overall, these ICUs averaged 1.8 bloodstream infections for every 1,000 days children were on central lines. That compares with an average rate of 1.5 infections in adult ICUs.
Five hospitals reported no central-line infections in their pediatric ICUs in 2010. They received Consumer Reports’ top rating. Two hospitals, the University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, and Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., had infection rates more than twice as high as the national average. They got the magazine’s lowest score.