Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a leading cause of post-operative morbidity and mortality. We developed Clean Cut, a surgical infection prevention program, with two goals: (1) Increase adherence to evidence-based peri-operative infection prevention standards and (2) establish sustainable surgical infection surveillance. Here we describe our infection surveillance strategy.Clean Cut was piloted and evaluated at a 523 bed tertiary hospital in Ethiopia. Infection prevention standards included: (1) Hand and surgical site decontamination; (2) integrity of gowns, drapes, and gloves; (3) instrument sterility; (4) prophylactic antibiotic administration; (5) surgical gauze tracking; and (6) checklist compliance. Primary outcome measure was SSI, with secondary outcomes including other infection, re-operation, and length of stay. We prospectively observed all post-surgical wounds in obstetrics over a 12 day period and separately recorded post-operative complications using chart review. Simultaneously, we reviewed the written hospital charts after patient discharge for all patients whose peri-operative adherence to infection prevention standards was captured.Fifty obstetric patients were followed prospectively with recorded rates of SSI 14%, re-operation 6%, and death 2%. Compared with direct observation, chart review alone had a high loss to follow-up (28%) and decreased capture of infectious complications (SSI [n?=?2], endometritis [n?=?3], re-operations [n?=?2], death [n?=?1]); further, documentation inconsistencies failed to capture two complications (SSI [n?=?1], mastitis [n?=?1]). Concurrently, 137 patients were observed for peri-operative infection prevention standard adherence. Of these, we were able to successfully review 95 (69%) patient charts with recorded rates of SSI 5%, re-operation 1%, and death 1%.Patient loss to follow-up and poor documentation of infections underestimated overall infectious complications. Direct, prospective follow-up is possible but requires increased time, clinical skill, and training. For accurate surgical infection surveillance, direct follow-up of patients during hospitalization is essential, because chart review does not accurately reflect post-operative complications.
View details for PubMedID 29135348