Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2018 Nov;39(11):1277-1295. doi: 10.1017/ice.2018.183. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

The preventable proportion of healthcare-associated infections 2005-2016: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology,University and University Hospital of Zurich,Zurich,Switzerland.



The preventable proportion of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) may decrease over time as standards of care improve. We aimed to assess the proportion of HAIs prevented by multifaceted infection control interventions in different economic settings.


In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched OVID Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PubMed, and The Cochrane Library for studies published between 2005 and 2016 assessing multifaceted interventions to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), central-line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), surgical site infections (SSIs), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and hospital-acquired pneumonia not associated with mechanical ventilation (HAP) in acute-care or long-term care settings. For studies reporting raw rates, we extracted data and calculated the natural log of the risk ratio and variance to obtain pooled risk ratio estimates.


Of the 5,226 articles identified by our search, 144 studies were included in the final analysis. Pooled incidence rate ratios associated with multifaceted interventions were 0.543 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.445-0.662) for CAUTI, 0.459 (95% CI, 0.381-0.554) for CLABSI, and 0.553 (95% CI, 0.465-0.657) for VAP. The pooled rate ratio was 0.461 (95% CI, 0.389-0.546) for interventions aiming at SSI reduction, and for VAP reduction initiatives, the pooled rate ratios were 0.611 (95% CI, 0.414-0.900) for before-and-after studies and 0.509 (95% CI, 0.277-0.937) for randomized controlled trials. Reductions in infection rates were independent of the economic status of the study country. The risk of bias was high in 143 of 144 studies (99.3%).


Published evidence suggests a sustained potential for the significant reduction of HAI rates in the range of 35%-55% associated with multifaceted interventions irrespective of a country's income level.

Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press Icon for Zurich Open Access Repository and Archive
Loading ...
Support Center