Friday, 22 July 2011

Copper Surfaces Can Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections by 40%

Hospital-acquired infections are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Preventing these infections has become an emergency matter, and Arizona medical malpractice lawyers have been monitoring studies and trials into the best practices for preventing infections. The results of new clinical trials show that the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces in intensive care units can help reduce hospital-infection rates by 40%. These copper surfaces can kill about 97% of bacteria that are responsible for these infections.

Those findings came from clinical trials conducted in the United States, and only confirmed recommendations by researchers at three American hospitals four years ago. Those recommendations had suggested that replacing surfaces in intensive care units with antimicrobial copper could substantially reduce bacterial growth on the surfaces, and reduce the risk of infections.

The new study, which has just been presented at the World Health Organization’s First International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control, was sponsored by the Department of Defense. It confirms that the benefits of preventing hospital-acquired infections through the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces are tremendous.

The hospitals involved in the study were required to replace items like bed rails, IV poles, nurse call buttons and other frequently used objects inside a patient's room, with antimicrobial copper surfaces. One particular site, the Medical University of South Carolina found a 97% reduction in surface bacteria. The researchers found that the use of copper objects substantially enhanced cleaning procedures.

According to the researchers, bacteria on intensive care unit surfaces are responsible for 80% of all infections contracted by patients in a hospital. Therefore, sterility of these surfaces is extremely important in reducing the risk of infections in a hospital. The usual procedures to sterilize hospital surfaces have limited efficacy in preventing the growth of bacteria and the spread of infections.

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