Which Comorbid Conditions Should We Be Analyzing as Risk Factors for Healthcare-Associated Infections?

Anthony D. Harris, Lisa Pineles, Deverick Anderson, Keith F. Woeltje, William E. Trick, Keith S. Kaye, Deborah S. Yokoe, Ann Christine Nyquist, David P. Calfee, Surbhi Leekha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To determine which comorbid conditions are considered causally related to central-line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and surgical-site infection (SSI) based on expert consensus. DESIGN Using the Delphi method, we administered an iterative, 2-round survey to 9 infectious disease and infection control experts from the United States. METHODS Based on our selection of components from the Charlson and Elixhauser comorbidity indices, 35 different comorbid conditions were rated from 1 (not at all related) to 5 (strongly related) by each expert separately for CLABSI and SSI, based on perceived relatedness to the outcome. To assign expert consensus on causal relatedness for each comorbid condition, all 3 of the following criteria had to be met at the end of the second round: (1) a majority (>50%) of experts rating the condition at 3 (somewhat related) or higher, (2) interquartile range (IQR)≤1, and (3) standard deviation (SD)≤1. RESULTS From round 1 to round 2, the IQR and SD, respectively, decreased for ratings of 21 of 35 (60%) and 33 of 35 (94%) comorbid conditions for CLABSI, and for 17 of 35 (49%) and 32 of 35 (91%) comorbid conditions for SSI, suggesting improvement in consensus among this group of experts. At the end of round 2, 13 of 35 (37%) and 17 of 35 (49%) comorbid conditions were perceived as causally related to CLABSI and SSI, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Our results have produced a list of comorbid conditions that should be analyzed as risk factors for and further explored for risk adjustment of CLABSI and SSI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


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