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Study Finds Antibiotics Effective in Preventing Some Hospital UTIs

Update Date: Jun 21, 2013 01:43 PM EDT

One of the biggest issues hospitals have to deal with is infection. When patients are being treated for whatever health conditions, the risk of an infection could extend the hospital stay and be potentially life threatening. One particular study found that if all patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) were to be disinfected, the rate of infections could be lowered. Lowering infection rates is important for the safety of the hospital and its patients. A new study found that administering antibiotics could significantly lower patients' risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are some of the most common infections.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston took data of over 1,000 patients from multiple clinical trials. After evaluating the data and calculating the numbers, the researchers found that when antibiotics were administered to catheterized patients, the risk of getting a UTI decreased by six percent in comparison to a placebo.

"Avoiding urinary tract infections in the hospital is desirable, but we need to look at the big picture," study author, Jonas Marschall, MD, said according to Medical Xpress. Marschall is an infectious diseases specialist at the Washington University School of Medicine. "There's a legitimate concern that widespread antibiotic use will encourage antibiotic resistance and cause side effects that include allergic reactions, drug toxicities or the onset of C. difficile, an infection causing severe diarrhea."

The data set came from seven studies that found both positive and negative effects of using antibiotics in preventing UTIs. Roughly 20 percent of patients in the hospital get a UTI. These patients are usually surgery patients that need a catheter for one to two days. Patients who use catheters longer have a higher risk of developing an UTI.

The findings were published in British Medical Journal

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