Adults who developed health care-associated infections (HAIs) due to medical or surgical  care while in the hospital in 2007 had to stay an average of 19 days longer than  adults who didn’t develop an infection, (24 days versus 5 days), according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  

For patients with an HAI, the rate of death in the hospital, on average, was six times as high as the rate for patients without an HAI (9 percent versus 1.5 percent). Also, on average, the cost of a hospital stay of an adult patient who developed an HAI  was about $43,000 more expensive than the stay of a patient  without an HAI ($52,096 versus $9,377).

The federal agency also found that: 

  • In 2007, about 45 percent of patients with HAIs were 65 or older, 33 percent were 45 to 64 and 22 percent were ages 18 to 44. However, the 45- to 64-year-old group had the highest rate of HAIs.
  • The top three diagnoses in hospitalized adult patients who developed HAIs were: septicemia (12 percent), adult respiratory failure (6 percent), and complications from surgical procedures or medical treatment (4 percent).
  • The rate of infections among medical and surgical discharges peaked in 2004 and 2005 at 2.3 per 1000 stays, then declined to 2.03, a rate similar to year 2000.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)