• We prospectively studied 526 patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit (MICU) and 799 patients admitted to the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) at a municipal hospital over a 20-month period. Rates of nosocomial infection were higher in the SICU patients (31% vs 24%). The SICU patients had more urinary tract infections, bacteremias, and wound infections, and the MICU patients were older, had higher acute physiology scores on admission and were more often admitted with shock or coma. The SICU patients were more likely to have received prior antibiotic therapy and had significantly higher numbers of endotracheal tubes, arterial lines, central venous lines, and indwelling bladder catheters. Of the 23 variables univariately associated with nosocomial infection, only five remained significant after entry into stepwise regression models. The MICU patients had a higher fatality rate in the MICU than did the SICU patients (18% vs 10%), but the relative risk of a death following nosocomial infection was 3.5 for both groups. Thirty variables were significantly associated with hospital fatality; nine remained significant after analysis by stepwise logistic regression.
(Arch intern Med 1988;148:1161-1168)