September 14, 2017

Infection control practices linked to lower SSI rates

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Infection control practices that focus on perioperative patient skin and wound hygiene and transparent display of surgical site infection (SSI) data, not OR attire policies, were associated with lower SSI rates in this multi-center study.

A total of 20 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and Texas Alliance for Surgical Quality hospitals were included in this study. Surgeon champions at each hospital ranked surgery, anesthesia, and nursing adherence to 38 infection control practices in six categories.

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More frequent compliance with eight infection control practices correlated with lower SSI odds ratios, including preoperative shower; skin preparation technique; using clean instruments, gowns, and gloves for wound closure and dressing changes; and transparent internal reporting of SSI data.

OR attire infection control practices, including coverage of nonscrubbed provider head and arm hair, did not correlate with SSI rates.

In an effort to reduce surgical site infection (SSI) rates, a large number of infection control practices (ICPs), including operating room attire policies, have been recommended. However, few have proven benefits and many are costly, time-consuming, and detrimental to provider morale. The goal of this multi-institution study was to determine which ICPs are associated with lower postoperative SSI rates.


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