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Clinical Correlates of Surveillance Events Detected by National Healthcare Safety Network Pneumonia and Lower Respiratory Infection Definitions—Pennsylvania, 2011–2012
  • Published Date:
    Apr 13 2016
  • Source:
    Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 37(7):818-824.
Filetype[PDF-836.88 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol
  • Description:

    To determine the clinical diagnoses associated with National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) pneumonia (PNEU) or lower respiratory infection (LRI) surveillance events.


    Retrospective chart review.


    Eight acute care hospitals in Pennsylvania.


    All patients hospitalized during 2011–2012.


    Medical records were reviewed from a random sample of patients reported to NHSN to have PNEU or LRI, excluding adults with ventilator-associated PNEU. Documented clinical diagnoses corresponding temporally to the PNEU/LRI events were recorded.


    We reviewed 250 (30%) of 838 eligible PNEU and LRI events reported to NHSN; 29 (12%) of reported events fulfilled neither PNEU nor LRI case criteria. Differences interpreting radiology reports accounted for most misclassification. Of 81 PNEU events in adults not on mechanical ventilation, 84% had clinician-diagnosed pneumonia, of which 25% were attributed to aspiration. Of 43 adult LRI, 88% were in mechanically ventilated patients and 35% had no corresponding clinical diagnosis (infectious or non-infectious) documented at the time of LRI. Of 36 pediatric PNEU events, 72% were ventilator-associated, and 70% corresponded to a clinical pneumonia diagnosis. Of 61 pediatric LRI, 84% were in mechanically-ventilated patients, and 21% had no corresponding clinical diagnosis documented.


    In adults not on mechanical ventilation and in children, most NHSN-defined PNEU events corresponded to compatible clinical conditions documented in the medical record. In contrast, NHSN LRI events often did not. As a result, substantial modifications to the LRI definitions were implemented in 2015.

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