Background B. Key Terms Used in this Guideline

Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities (2003)

Although Appendix A provides definitions for terms discussed in Part I, several terms that pertain to specific patient-care areas and patients who are at risk for health-care associated opportunistic infections are presented here. Specific engineering parameters for these care areas are discussed more fully in the text.

Airborne Infection Isolation (AII)

Airborne Infection Isolation (AII) refers to the isolation of patients infected with organisms spread via airborne droplet nuclei <5 μm in diameter. This isolation area receives numerous air changes per hour (ACH) (≥12 ACH for new construction as of 2001; ≥6 ACH for construction before 2001), and is under negative pressure, such that the direction of the airflow is from the outside adjacent space (e.g., corridor) into the room. The air in an AII room is preferably exhausted to the outside, but may be recirculated provided that the return air is filtered through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The use of personal respiratory protection is also indicated for persons entering these rooms.

Protective Environment (PE)

Protective Environment (PE) is a specialized patient-care area, usually in a hospital, with a positive airflow relative to the corridor (i.e., air flows from the room to the outside adjacent space). The combination of HEPA filtration, high numbers of air changes per hour (≥12 ACH), and minimal leakage of air into the room creates an environment that can safely accommodate patients who have undergone allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT).

Immunocompromised patients

Immunocompromised patientsare those patients whose immune mechanisms are deficient because of immunologic disorders (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection, congenital immune deficiency syndrome, chronic diseases [such as diabetes, cancer, emphysema, and cardiac failure]) or immunosuppressive therapy (e.g., radiation, cytotoxic chemotherapy, anti-rejection medication, and steroids).

Immunocompromised patients who are identified as high-risk patients have the greatest risk of infection caused by airborne or waterborne microorganisms. Patients in this subset include those who are severely neutropenic for prolonged periods of time (i.e., an absolute neutrophil count [ANC] of ≤500 cells/mL), allogeneic HSCT patients, and those who have received intensive chemotherapy (e.g., childhood acute myelogenous leukemia patients).