Viral Infections May Increase Complications

GAINESVILLE - Common viral infections may increase the risk of complications for patients recovering in intensive care units. That’s according to University of Florida researchers, who analyzed over 200,000 critically-ill patients across the U.S. [audio:|artists=Lhee|titles=ICUvirus]

University of Florida researchers looked at four common and treatable viral infections, including influenza and herpes simplex virus. They found patients who acquired viral infections in intensive care units stayed in the hospital twice as long than patients without any infections. In addition, ICU patients with both bacterial and viral infections had higher risks for pneumonia, multi-system organ failure and death.

UF researcher Darwin Ang said not many patients are screened for viral infections throughout their hospital stays.

“This research might even represent the tip of the iceberg,” Ang said. “There might be a lot more patients with viral infections than we actually know.”

Ang said he needs to conduct more studies before he can make any formal recommendations.

The findings were published in the April issue of PLoS One. [ | FPR Spot]