[Skip to Content]
Sign In
Individual Sign In
Create an Account
Institutional Sign In
OpenAthens Shibboleth
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1986

Decreasing the Incidence of Surgical Wound InfectionsValidation of a Surveillance-Notification Program

Author Affiliations

From the Infection Control Unit, Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (Dr Mead and Ms Hall), and the Department of Surgery (Drs Pories, Davis, and Gamelli) and Biometry Facility (Ms Vacek), University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington.

Arch Surg. 1986;121(4):458-461. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1986.01400040096015

• In an attempt to validate the observations of a previously published ten-year study of surgical wounds, we studied 8,474 wounds over an 18-month period using a protocol nearly identical to that of the previous study. Our study corroborated the following predictors of clean-wound infection: increasing duration of surgery, age less than 1 or greater than 50 years, increasing duration of preoperative hospitalization, use of drains, and shaving and emergency surgery. We failed to corroborate use of wound irrigation as a protective measure or time of preoperative shaving as a significant variable. Most importantly, we found a 42% reduction in the clean-wound infection rate during the study period (1.9% to 1.1%), adding support to the concept that a wound surveillance program with surgeon notification is both efficacious and cost-effective.

(Arch Surg 1986;121:458-461)

Cruse PJE, Foord R:  A five-year prospective study of 23,649 surgical wounds . Arch Surg 1973;107:206-210.Article
Cruse PJE, Foord R:  The epidemiology of wound infection: A ten-year prospective study of 62,939 wounds . Surg Clin North Am 1980;60:187-196.
Simmons BP:  CDC guideline for prevention of surgical wound infections . Infect Control 1982;3:187-196.
Altemeir WA, Burke JF, Pruitt BA, et al: Manual on the Control of Infection in Surgical Patients . Philadelphia, JB Lippincott Co, 1976.
Olson M, O'Connor M, Schwartz ML:  Surgical wound infections: A five-year prospective study of 20,193 wounds at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center . Ann Surg 1984;199:253-259.Article
Seropian R, Reynolds BM:  Wound infections after preoperative depilatory versus razor preparation . Am J Surg 1971;121:251-254.Article
Brachman PS, Dan BB, Haley RW, et al:  Nosocomial surgical infections: Incidence and cost . Surg Clin North Am 1980;60:15-25.
Haley RW, Morgan WM, Culver DH, et al:  Hospital infection control: Recent progress and opportunities under prospective payment . Am J Infect Control 1985;13:97-108.Article
Condon RE, Schulte WJ, Malangon MA, et al:  Effectiveness of a surgical wound surveillance program . Arch Surg 1983;118:303-307.Article
Haley RW, Culver DH, White JW, et al:  The efficacy of infection surveillance and control programs in preventing nosocomial infections in US hospitals . Am J Epidemiol 1985;121:182-205.
Haley RW:  Surveillance by objective: A new priority-directed approach to the control of nosocomial infections . Am J Infect Control 1985;13:78-89.Article