HCA, Harvard Pilgrim, UC Irvine partner on research to prevent HAIs

An antibiotic ointment administered through the nose is effective in protecting critically ill patients in the ICU from Staphylococcus aureus infections, according to an Oct. 10 HCA Healthcare news release. 

The ointment, mupirocin, is currently used in one-third of hospitals across the U.S. for protection of ICU patients, according to the release, and in the clinical trial, it was found to provide better protection — by 18.4 percent — than a traditional antiseptic solution. 

The study, published Oct. 10 in JAMA, was a multistate effort led by the CDC along with experts from Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, Boston-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and the University of California, Irvine Health. 

During the trial, researchers studied the outcomes of 801,668 admissions in 233 ICUs at 137 HCA Healthcare hospitals. They found that in addition to clinically proven benefits of chlorhexidine bathing to reduce hospital-acquired infections, this nasal treatment is an important step to include for further reduction of infection.

"This new trial confirms the effectiveness of the mupirocin CHG protocol, and we have already put this science into practice, establishing universal use of mupirocin as the preferred agent for nasal decolonization in all hospitals," Kenneth Sands, MD, chief epidemiologist, HCA Healthcare stated in the release.

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