Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pediatr Orthop. 2012 Apr-May;32(3):266-70. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e31824b29c1.

A multidisciplinary approach improves infection rates in pediatric spine surgery.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Musculoskeletal Research Center, Aurora, CO, USA.



Surgical site infections (SSI) associated with elective pediatric spinal surgery are a commonly reported complication, increasing hospital length of stay, readmissions, operations, and financial costs. In July 2007, a multidisciplinary task force, designated Target Zero, was created to address this issue and establish prevention protocols at our institution.


A consecutive series of 394 patient charts from April 2006 to September 2008 were retrospectively reviewed to identify patients who developed an SSI secondary to elective spinal surgery. Four cohorts were evaluated; high-risk (HR) and low-risk (LR) patients who underwent surgery before (April 2006 to June 2007) and after (July 2007 to September 2008) Target Zero initiation. The definition of HR included diagnoses of cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscle disease, paralytic deformities, and vertebral column resections. Patients were followed for 1 year to meet The Center for Disease Control-National Health Safety Network's definition of an SSI with an implantable device. Overall infection rates were determined for each group and compared statistically.


A total of 192 patients (70 HR and 122 LR) underwent surgery before, and 202 patients (92 HR and 110 LR) underwent surgery after Target Zero initiation. Overall infection rates were reduced from 7.8% to 4.5% (P=0.203), 12.9% to 6.5% (P=0.183), and 4.9% to 2.7% (P=0.505) for all patients, HR patients, and LR patients, respectively. The relative risk reduction was 43.0% for all patients, 49.3% for HR patients, and 44.6% for LR patients.


Although decreases in overall infection rates were not statistically significant, the results from Target Zero were shown to be clinically meaningful with a relative risk reduction approaching 50% overall and in defined subgroups. Based on the number needed to treat analysis, 1 infection in every 16 patients within the HR group, and 1 in 30 overall, was prevented up to 1 year postoperatively. This study is the first to document the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary team implementing protocols for decreasing infection rates in pediatric spine surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk