BY HEATHER CASPI | HEALTHCARE DIVE
- The use of copper-infused products such as countertops, bed rails, and linens were linked to lower infection rates during a 10-month clinical trial at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Virginia in a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
- The trial data, based on 2014 infection rates at separate hospital wings with and without copper products, were presented this week at an Infectious Disease Society of America conference.
- The copper was associated with an 83% decrease in Clostridium difficile and a 78% decrease in drug-resistant infections.
The researchers called the study the largest clinical trial of copper products in a hospital setting, though the practice has been studied before and has its origins in ancient Egypt.
While the study had certain limitations, such as different patient types, any new information about reducing hospital-acquired infections will likely be welcomed. Both C. diff and drug-resistant infections have taken the spotlight and federal officials are cracking down as hospital-acquired infections impact 650,000 patients per year, the CDC estimates.
Yet Sentara is already convinced the results were sufficiently promising. It has added the copper products to four more hospitals and an assisted-living center, and ultimately plans to add them to all of its hospitals and potential even its long-term-care facilities.