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Nosocomial infections and infection control in regional anesthesia

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Although rare, infectious complications from regional anesthesia and analgesia can be devastating. The literature on this topic consists primarily of surveys, case reports, case series, and studies in which used supplies were cultured. We derived infection control recommendations from the existing literature and compared these recommendations with existing guidelines. Methods:

Structured literature search of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, including old MEDLINE and EMBASE until 2005. Descriptive statistics were cited when applicable. Main results:

Incidence rates for infectious complications vary substantially between studies and range from 3.7 to 7.2/100,000 for spinal anesthesia-associated meningitis and from 0.2 to 83/100,000 for epidural anesthesia-associated epidural abscesses. Few comprehensive prospective trials have been conducted and most case reports do not provide complete information about infection control practices. Conclusion:

Studies using more robust methods are necessary to define the rates of infection after different regional anesthesia procedures and to identify risk factors for infections. Data on risk factors would allow anesthesiologists to develop evidence-based guidelines for placement and care of catheters used for regional anesthesia. A multicenter surveillance system may help anesthesiologists address some of the unanswered questions and to develop evidence-based infection control recommendations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-6576.2008.01712.x

Affiliations: 1: Beratungszentrum für Hygiene (BZH), Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany, 2: The Program of Hospital Epidemiology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, 3: St Luke's Hospital of Duluth, Duluth, MN and

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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