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J Am Coll Surg. 2013 Jan;216(1):23-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2012.09.009. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Colorectal surgery surgical site infection reduction program: a national surgical quality improvement program--driven multidisciplinary single-institution experience.

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Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Surgical site infections (SSI) are a major cause of morbidity in surgical patients and they increase health care costs considerably. Colorectal surgery is consistently associated with high SSI rates. No single intervention has demonstrated efficacy in reducing colorectal SSIs. The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) is a nationally validated system that uses clinically abstracted data on surgical patients and their outcomes to assist participating institutions drive quality improvement.


A multidisciplinary team was assembled to develop a colorectal SSI-reduction bundle at an academic tertiary care medical center. The ACS NSQIP data were used to identify patterns of SSIs during a 2-year period. Multiple interventions across the entire surgical episode of care were developed and implemented in January 2011. Monthly ACS NSQIP data were used to track progress.


Our ACS NSQIP overall colorectal SSI rate for 2009 and 2010 was 9.8%. One year after implementation of the SSI reduction bundle, we demonstrated a significant decline (p < 0.05) in both overall and superficial SSIs, to 4.0% and 1.5%, respectively. Organ space infections declined to 2.6%, which was not a significant change (p = 0.10). During the entire analysis period (2009 to 2011), there was no change in our colorectal-specific Surgical Care Improvement Program performance.


Using our ACS NSQIP colorectal SSI outcomes, a multidisciplinary team designed a colorectal SSI reduction bundle that resulted in a substantial and sustained reduction in SSIs. Our study is not able to identify which specific elements contributed to the reduction.

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