Hospitals reduced central-line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) and surgical site infections by 46% and 19%, respectively, between 2008 and 2013, according to the latest annual report on healthcare-associated infections, released Jan. 14 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CLABSIs are blood infections caused by central line catheters – tubes inserted into a large vein to deliver medicine to critically ill patients. Procedures on the list for surgery-related infections include heart and colon surgeries and hysterectomies.

Among other improvements, hospitals reduced C. difficile infections by 10% and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections by 8% between 2011 and 2013. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections increased 6% between 2009 and 2013, but initial data from 2014 suggest they have started to decrease, the agency said.

“Hospitals have made real progress to reduce some types of healthcare-associated infections – it can be done,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. “The key is for every hospital to have rigorous infection control programs to protect patients and health care workers, and for health care facilities and others to work together to reduce the many types of infections that haven’t decreased enough.”

For more on the CDC’s report, click on: http://tinyurl.com/lrehu2d.

The AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) affiliate directed a national project to reduce CLABSIs through the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program or CUSP. Participating hospital units reduced CLABSI rates by 40%, saved more than 500 lives and avoided about $34 million in health care costs.

HRET is currently administering a CUSP program and fellowship to prevent CAUTIs.

For more on the CUSP initiative and fellowship, click on: http://www.onthecuspstophai.org/