BACKGROUND Hospital infections are important because of increased risk of mortality and morbidity and their economic burden and are most commonly seen in intensive care units (ICUs). We aimed to document the characteristics of patients at an ICU, obtain bacteriologic samples, and determine the distribution of the isolated microorganisms. MATERIAL/METHODS The study was conducted in the ICU of an anesthesiology department with 16 beds. The characteristics of 154 patients treated there over a one-year period were documented. The distribution of bacteriologic samples and isolated microorganisms and susceptibilities were investigated. The emerging hospital infections were determined using surveillance methods that were based on clinical and laboratory data. RESULTS Intoxication was the most common cause of hospitalization, followed by respiratory insufficiency due to severe pneumonia and/or chronic obstructive respiratory disease, then trauma, postoperative conditions, and cerebrovascular problems. The mean number of culture studies per patient was 5.36+/-3.27. Cultures were most commonly obtained from patients with respiratory insufficiency and trauma. According to clinical specimens, the most commonly isolated microorganisms were E. Coli (37.2%) in urine, S. Aureus (50.0%) in blood, P. aeruginosa (25.7%) in tracheal aspirates, and Acinetobacter spp. (37.5%) in wounds. Considering all specimens, MRSA (22.0%) was the most common microorganism. CONCLUSIONS Hospital infections pose an serious problem in an ICU setting. Surveillance studies comprise the basis for treatment of ICU infections. A multidisciplinary approach is required for a better quality of care and the achievement of therapy.