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AORN J. 2014 May;99(5):600-8; quiz 609-11. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2014.02.002.

Back to basics: preventing surgical site infections.


A surgical site infection (SSI) is an unintended and oftentimes preventable consequence of surgery. There is a significant amount of literature related to preventing SSIs, and it is up to practitioners in each care setting to review the evidence and work together to implement SSI prevention measures, such as nasal decolonization, antibiotic prophylaxis, preoperative showers, preoperative oxygen supplementation, and antimicrobial sutures. In addition, practitioners can follow several recommendations to reduce the risk of SSIs, including following proper hand hygiene practices; wearing clean, facility-laundered scrub attire; following a surgical safety checklist; and speaking up when a break in sterile technique is witnessed. The benefits of preventing SSIs are preventing patient mortality and decreasing the burden that SSIs pose on the national health care system. It is up to health care leaders to drive and support SSI prevention initiatives.


HAI; SSI; health care–associated infection; surgical site infection

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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