Surgical Site Infections in Colon Surgery: The Patient, the Procedure, the Hospital, and the Surgeon | Colorectal Surgery | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Article
Nov 2011

Surgical Site Infections in Colon Surgery: The Patient, the Procedure, the Hospital, and the Surgeon

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Visceral Surgery (Drs Hübner, Diana, and Demartines) and Services of Hospital Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases (Drs Zanetti and Troillet), University Hospital, Lausanne, and Service of Infectious Diseases, Central Institute of the Valais Hospitals, Sion (Ms Eisenring and Dr Troillet), Switzerland.

Arch Surg. 2011;146(11):1240-1245. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.176

Objective To determine the role of the surgeon in the occurrence of surgical site infection (SSI) following colon surgery, with respect to his or her adherence to guidelines and his or her experience.

Design, Setting, and Patients Prospective cohort study of 2393 patients who underwent colon surgery performed by 31 surgeons in 9 secondary and tertiary care public Swiss hospitals, recruited from a surveillance program for SSI between March 1, 1998, and December 31, 2008, and followed up for 1 month after their operation.

Main Outcome Measures Risk factors for SSI were identified in univariate and multivariate analyses that included the patients' and procedures' characteristics, the hospitals, and the surgeons as candidate covariates. Correlations were sought between surgeons' individual adjusted risks, their self-reported adherence to guidelines, and the delay since their board certification.

Results A total of 428 SSIs (17.9%) were identified, with hospital rates varying from 4.0% to 25.2% and individual surgeon rates varying from 3.7% to 36.1%. Features of the patients and procedures associated with SSI in univariate analyses were male sex, age, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, contamination class, operation duration, and emergency procedure. Correctly timed antibiotic prophylaxis and laparoscopic approach were protective. Multivariate analyses adjusting for these features and for the hospitals found 4 surgeons with higher risk of SSI (odds ratio [OR] = 2.37, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.51-3.70; OR = 2.19, 95% CI, 1.41-3.39; OR = 2.15, 95% CI, 1.02-4.53; and OR = 1.97, 95% CI, 1.18-3.30) and 2 surgeons with lower risk of SSI (OR = 0.43, 95% CI, 0.19-0.94; and OR = 0.19, 95% CI, 0.04-0.81). No correlation was found between surgeons' individual adjusted risks and their adherence to guidelines or their experience.

Conclusion For reasons beyond adherence to guidelines or experience, the surgeon may constitute an independent risk factor for SSI after colon surgery.