Women are less likely to develop infections related to receiving health care
than men, according to a large new study.
After examining thousands of cases involving hospitalised patients,
researchers found that women were at much lower risk for bloodstream infection
and surgical-site infection than men. The study authors suggested that their
findings could help health care providers reduce men's risk of these
"By understanding the factors that put patients at risk for infections,
clinicians may be able to design targeted prevention and surveillance strategies
to improve infection rates and outcomes," lead study author Bevin Cohen, program
director at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research to Prevent Infections at
Columbia University School of Nursing, said.
What the study showed
The study, recently published online in the Journal of General Internal
Medicine, revealed that the odds of developing a community-associated
bloodstream infection were 30% higher among men. Meanwhile, the researchers
found a 60% higher risk among men for health care-associated bloodstream
infections as well as for surgical-site infections.
Biological differences between men and women's skin may play a role in men's
increased risk for infection. Previous studies have shown there are more
bacteria present at the insertion site of a central venous catheter on men than
These gender differences were less apparent in children younger than 12 and
people older than 70, the study found.
"In addition to using enhanced infection risk profiles to improve infection
rates, it may be sensible to conduct specialised preoperative skin
decontamination procedures and postoperative wound care for men to further
reduce the risk of infection," Cohen concluded.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has more about infections associated
with health care.