Risk factors for health care–associated infection in hospitalized adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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Health care–associated infections (HAIs) are a public health problem that increase health care costs. This article aimed to systematically review the literature and meta-analyze studies investigating risk factors (RFs) independently associated with HAIs in hospitalized adults.


Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, and LILACS) were searched to identify studies from 2009-2016. Pooled risk ratios (RRs) or odds ratios (ORs) or mean differences (MDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and compared across the groups. This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement.


Of 867 studies, 65 met the criteria for review, and the data of 18 were summarized in the meta-analysis. The major RFs independently associated with HAIs were diabetes mellitus (RR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.27-2.44), immunosuppression (RR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.04-1.47), body temperature (MD, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.41-0.83), surgery time in minutes (MD, 34.53; 95% CI, 22.17-46.89), reoperation (RR, 7.94; 95% CI, 5.49-11.48), cephalosporin exposure (RR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.30-2.42), days of exposure to central venous catheter (MD, 5.20; 95% CI, 4.91-5.48), intensive care unit (ICU) admission (RR, 3.76; 95% CI, 1.79-7.92), ICU stay in days (MD, 21.30; 95% CI, 19.81-22.79), and mechanical ventilation (OR, 12.95; 95% CI, 6.28-26.73).


Identifying RFs that contribute to develop HAIs may support the implementation of strategies for their prevention, therefore maximizing patient safety.

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