CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – Hudson Valley Hospital Center was one of six hospitals in Westchester to participate in a nine month study that will change the way hospitals work at reducing infection rates in intensive care patients.
The New York State Health Department sponsored study, published this month in the "American Journal of Medicine," concluded that bathing patients in an antiseptic called chlorhexidine significantly reduced the rates of central line bloodstream infections in ICU patients. As a result of the study, the procedure is now recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as a way to reduce central line infections.
“The nurses in the ICU were all very excited about the positive results,’’ said Barbara Savatteri, a registered nurse and director of infection control at the hospital. Savatteri, a Cortlandt Manor resident, led the hospital in the study and saw her name published in the journal’s list of contributors for the first time.
“Not only are our patients doing well, but this data will be very helpful to hospitals nationwide. A lot of work by a lot of people went into this study,” said Savatteri.
Savatteri said that from April 1, 2008 through Dec. 1, 2008, HVHC used 2 percent solution of chlorhexidine to bathe patients and during that time bloodstream infection rates were cut by 50 percent. She said during the post study period, results were even more dramatic with a zero percent rate of infection.
The findings are significant, according to the “American Journal of Medicine,” because bloodstream infections acquired through central venous catheters are a major risk for hospitalized patients. Reducing rates, it concludes, not only saves lives, but significantly reduces hospital stays, reducing the cost of health care.
“Our multiple hospital, three-phase study demonstrates that chlorhexidine bathing is simple, well-tolerated infection control intervention that seems to significantly reduce central venous catheter associated bloodstream infection in intensive care unit/respiratory care unit settings,’’ the study concluded, according to the “American Journal of Medicine.”