Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner
2004 National Healthcare Quality Report

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Hospital-Acquired (Nosocomial) Infections

Infections acquired in the process of care, or nosocomial infections, are one of the most serious patient safety concerns. This is especially true in some care settings, such as intensive care units (ICUs), and for some procedures, such as central vascular catheters (CVCs).

Figure 3.1. Nosocomial infections in ICU patients, 1998-2002

Figure 3.1. Nosocomial infections in ICU patients, 1998-2002

[D] Select for Text Description.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) System.

Note: The lines for catheter-associated urinary tract infections and central-line bloodstream infections in ICU patients overlap. Both ventilator-associated pneumonia measures were redefined in 2002; thus data for these two measures for 2002 are not presented in this chart.

  • NNIS data show that hospital-acquired infections in some types of ICUs have gradually declined from 1998 to 2002 (Figure 3.1). The targets set for Healthy People 20108 for four of the five measures tracked through NNIS were met by 2002.
  • High risk is associated with the use of CVCs and ventilators. In 2002, 2.4% of CVC procedures resulted in infections at the insertion sites, 1.5% of CVC procedures resulted in bloodstream infections, and 7.9% of ventilator uses caused pneumonia (MPSMS, 2002).


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care