When stroke patients get an infection while in the hospital, that may raise the chances they will wind up back in the hospital later, new research suggests.
Researchers examined data on more than 319,000 U.S. patients who had an ischemic stroke (blocked blood flow to the brain) who were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
Overall, any type of in-hospital infection — which included blood infection (sepsis), pneumonia, respiratory and urinary tract infections — was associated with a 20 percent higher risk of readmission.
When the investigators looked at specific types of infections, they found that the more common ones such as urinary tract infections increased that risk by 10 percent.
“Although our study had some limitations, it appears that ischemic stroke patients who develop a urinary tract infection in the hospital may be candidates for earlier follow-up and closer monitoring by their health care team,” said lead researcher Amelia Boehme. She’s an assistant professor of epidemiology in neurology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
The findings were published Nov. 1 in the journal Stroke.
“We suspect the reason the association was so much stronger for urinary tract infections was that urinary tract infections are very common compared to other infections, so the association was significant,” Boehme said in a journal news release.
The findings highlight the importance of health care measures meant to prevent urinary tract infections, she concluded.
The National Patient Safety Foundation has more on preventing infections in the hospital.