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Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2011 Dec;12(6):491-6. doi: 10.1089/sur.2010.103. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Beyond core measures: identifying modifiable risk factors for prevention of surgical site infection after elective total abdominal hysterectomy.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Denver Health Hospital & University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, USA.



Despite adherence to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) core measures for preventing surgical site infections (SSI), our institution has a >10% rate of SSI after total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH), higher than the 90(th) percentile for SSI rates published in the 2009 National Healthcare Safety Network report.


A retrospective chart review was performed for patients who underwent elective TAH at a public safety net hospital in Denver from December 30, 2005, to March 9, 2010. The primary outcome was development of SSI within 30 days. A secondary outcome was adherence to CMS core measures.


A total of 192 patients were included in the analysis, of whom 21 (10.9%) developed SSI. More than 95% had received antibiotics in the 60 min before surgical incision, and >90% received an appropriate antibiotic. Compliance with post-anesthesia care unit normothermia was equivalent in the SSI and non-SSI groups (81.0% vs. 75.2%; p=0.5588). Surgical site infection was associated with obesity (body mass index [BMI]≥30) (15.4% vs. 6.9%; p=0.0609), estimated blood loss≥500 mL (18.5% vs. 8.0%; p=0.0353), and receipt of a blood transfusion (28.6% vs. 10.5%; p=0.0183). In a multiple logistic regression model, obesity marginally increased the risk of SSI (odds ratio [OR] 2.55; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.94-6.74), whereas blood transfusion was significantly associated with a higher risk of SSI (OR 3.58; 95% CI 1.21-10.62).


Blood transfusion was associated with SSI after TAH in our population. As it is a modifiable risk factor, larger multi-center studies are needed to confirm this result and determine appropriate transfusion thresholds.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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