Acinetobacter infections in at-risk patients, emphasizing challenges and advocating for safer catheter materials to prevent severe complications

Bloodstream infections from Acinetobacter baumannii-Acinetobacter calcoaceticus are more common in critically ill and debilitated institutionalized patients, who are heavily exposed to health care settings and invasive devices … (and) in hospital mortality rate was significantly higher among (patients with ABC compared to those without)” … Teena Chopra, MD, Wayne State Medical School.

What else did Dr. Chopra report in “Risk Factors and Outcomes for Patients with Bloodstream Infection due to Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus Complex (ABC)”?

“Independent risk factors for bloodstream infections due to ABC included … a direct admission from another health care facility, a prior hospitalization, the presence of an indwelling central venous line, the receipt of total parenteral nutrition, the prior receipt of beta-lactams, the prior receipt of carbapenems, and the prior receipt of chemotherapy”

Read Dr. Chopra’s article:

Greg Vigna, MD, JD, national pharmaceutical injury attorney, “Multi-drug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter has been one of the most difficult organism to treat as there are limited antibiotic options to use, and this gram negative bacteria is extremely difficult to eradicate from the hospital environment of care as it can survive weeks on walls, window blinds, bedrails, wheelchairs, and counter tops. Death rates have been reported that approach 60% for this organism.”

“Multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter bloodstream infection and sepsis caused by this bacteria are brutal because it disproportionally affects those who are critically ill and those with central-lines.” — Greg Vigna, MD, JD

Dr. Vigna, “Central-line infections are particularly serious because this medical device allows for direct access to the bloodstream of neonates and older patients in ICUs across the country leading to bloodstream infections with reported mortality estimates of about twenty percent.”

Dr. Vigna adds, “Multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter bloodstream infection and sepsis caused by this bacteria are especially brutal because it disproportionally affects those who are critically ill and those with central-lines. Treatment includes removal of the infected line and intravenous antibiotics that may include Colistin, which is renal toxic. This drug had been shelved for decades because of its kidney toxicity but was brought back into mainstream use because of multi-drug resistant gram-negative organisms, including Acinetobacter.”

To learn about treatment of Acinetobater:

Dr. Vigna adds, “Polyurethane and silicone PICC lines are defective products because there are safer materials that reduce the risk of hospital acquired bloodstream infections. Given the risk of mortality, prolonged hospitalizations, and the related toxicities of Colistin, hospitals should use the safer alternative catheter materials that reduce the risk of central-line infections, including hospital acquired bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Epidermidis, MRSA, Klebsiella, VRE, Pseudomonas, Enterobacter cloacae, and Acinetobacter baumannii. There are materials currently available that don’t use polyurethane and reduce infections by decreasing the risk of bacterial colonization because the materials prevent adhesion to the venous catheters.”

What is sepsis? Multiple organ damage from inflammation due to infection that may result in organ damage to the brain, kidney, heart, liver, and lung.

What is septic shock? A life-threatening condition that causes dangerously low blood pressure because of infection that may result in amputations of fingers and toes, brain damage, kidney failure, ventilator dependence, oxygen dependence, and nerve damage.

Dr. Vigna concludes, “We are investigating hospital acquired bloodstream infections caused by PICC lines and other central lines due to the use of old, outdated polyurethane and silicone designs.”

Dr. Vigna is a California and Washington DC lawyer who represents those with serious injuries caused by defective medical devices including PICC line and Med-Ports that lead to sepsis. He represents the injured with the Ben Martin Law Group, a national pharmaceutical injury law firm in Dallas, Texas. The attorneys are product liability and medical malpractice attorneys, and they represent the most injured across the country.


Greg Vigna, MD, JD
Vigna Law Group
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