• A small number of patients manifest wound infections several months to several years after their operations. A study was undertaken to delineate the clinical characteristics of patients whose infections became apparent after a prolonged time interval from surgery. Twenty-six patients were admitted to The New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, with wound infections that occurred more than six months postoperatively. There were three distinct groups. The first group consisted of patients with Staphylococcus aureus infections related to superficial stitch abscesses. The second group comprised patients with pacemaker infections; S epidermidis was the most frequently recovered organism. The third group consisted of patients with more clinically significant infections. These infectious complications followed genitourinary, gastrointestinal, and biliary surgery. The findings of this study suggest that most of these infections are caused by organisms introduced into the wound at the time of surgery; these organisms may become active because of alterations in the host's resistance.
(Arch Surg 1982;117:113-117)