Epidemiology of Surgical Site Infection in a Community Hospital Network

Baker, A.W. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. 2016. 37:519–526

Objective: To describe the epidemiology of complex surgical site infection (SSI) following commonly performed surgical procedures in community hospitals and to characterize trends of SSI prevalence rates over time for MRSA and other common pathogens

Methods: We prospectively collected SSI data at 29 community hospitals in the southeastern United States from 2008 through 2012. We determined the overall prevalence rates of SSI for commonly performed procedures during this 5-year study period. For each year of the study, we then calculated prevalence rates of SSI stratified by causative organism. We created log-binomial regression models to analyze trends of SSI prevalence over time for all pathogens combined and specifically for MRSA.

Results: A total of 3,988 complex SSIs occurred following 532,694 procedures (prevalence rate, 0.7 infections per 100 procedures). SSIs occurred most frequently after small bowel surgery, peripheral vascular bypass surgery, and colon surgery. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen. The prevalence rate of SSI decreased from 0.76 infections per 100 procedures in 2008 to 0.69 infections per 100 procedures in 2012 (prevalence rate ratio [PRR], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.82–1.00). A more substantial decrease in MRSA SSI (PRR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54–0.89) was largely responsible for this overall trend.

Conclusions: The prevalence of MRSA SSI decreased from 2008 to 2012 in our network of community hospitals. This decrease in MRSA SSI prevalence led to an overall decrease in SSI prevalence over the study period.

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