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Surgical Site Infections

"Surgical site infections (SSIs) account for 14-16% of all hospital-acquired infections and are a common complication of care. By implementing projects to reduce SSIs, hospitals could save $3,152 and reduce extended lengths of stay by seven days on each patient developing an infection. ... During 1986 to 1996, hospitals conducting SSI surveillance in the NNIS system reported 15,523 SSIs following 593,344 operations (CDC, unpublished data).  Among surgical patients, SSIs were the most common nosocomial infection, accounting for 38% of all such infections.  Of these SSIs, two thirds were confined to the incision, and one third involved organs or spaces accessed during the operation. When surgical patients with nosocomial SSI died, 77% of the deaths were reported to be related to the infection, and the majority (93%) were serious infections involving organs or spaces accessed during the operation. ... In 1980, Cruse estimated that an SSI increased a patientís hospital stay by approximately 10 days and cost an additional $2,000.15,16 A 1992 analysis showed that each SSI resulted in 7.3 additional postoperative hospital days, adding $3,152 in extra charges.17 Other studies corroborate that increased length of hospital stay and cost are associated with SSIs. ... Advances in infection control practices include improved operating room ventilation, sterilization methods, barriers, surgical technique, and availability of antimicrobial prophylaxis. Despite these activities, SSIs remain a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients." Guidlines for Prevention of Surgical Site Infections CDC, report, pg 5  See Table 1, Criteria for Defining a Surgical Site Infection, SSI

American Health Quality Association has published a Fact Sheet.  Fact Sheet: Surgical Infection Prevention Project  The American Health Quality Association is dedicated to improving the safety and effectiveness of health care. AHQA represents the national network of Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) that work with hospitals, medical practices, health plans, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, and employers to encourage the spread of best clinical practices and improve systems of care delivery.

Making Surgery Safer - Surgical Site Infections account for 14% to 16% of all hospital-acquired infections.  SSIs can be prevented through appropriate selection of antibiotics, proper timing of antibiotic administration, control of blood sugar and body temperature during surgery and other clinical processes.  Research studies show that one-third to one-half of these infections can be avoided with appropriate use of prophylactic antibiotics. source

Guideline for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection, 1999 The Guideline for Prevention of Surgical Site Infection, 1999 presents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for the prevention of surgical site infections (SSIs), formerly called surgical wound infections. This two-part guideline updates and replaces previous guidelines.

What you can do to protect your self before surgery:

Tips for Surgery Patients  

Tips for Dialysis Patients  

Tips for Adults  


Revised:August 10, 2009 .