X-ray Machines May Spread Infections in the ICU

August 7, 2009

Poor infection control practices when using X-ray machines may lead to nosocomial infections in the intensive care unit (ICU). In a new study, Israeli researchers observed 173, 113, and 120 ICU chest x-rays during observation, intervention, and follow-up periods, respectively.

Adequate infection control was practiced during 1 percent of observation X-rays, 42 percent of intervention X-rays, and 10 percent of follow-up X-rays. The study also showed that X-ray machine surface cultures yielded resistant gram-negative bacteria on 39 percent, 0 percent, and 50 percent of the observation, intervention and follow-up X-rays.

The authors conclude that improved infection control practices could decrease the occurrence of resistant organisms on X-ray equipment. This study is published in the August issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.