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Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2017 May/Jun;18(4):440-446. doi: 10.1089/sur.2017.058. Epub 2017 Apr 12.

Patients at High-Risk for Surgical Site Infection.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston , Houston, Texas.



Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a significant healthcare quality issue, resulting in increased morbidity, disability, length of stay, resource utilization, and costs. Identification of high-risk patients may improve pre-operative counseling, inform resource utilization, and allow modifications in peri-operative management to optimize outcomes.


Review of the pertinent English-language literature.


High-risk surgical patients may be identified on the basis of individual risk factors or combinations of factors. In particular, statistical models and risk calculators may be useful in predicting infectious risks, both in general and for SSIs. These models differ in the number of variables; inclusion of pre-operative, intra-operative, or post-operative variables; ease of calculation; and specificity for particular procedures. Furthermore, the models differ in their accuracy in stratifying risk. Biomarkers may be a promising way to identify patients at high risk of infectious complications.


Although multiple strategies exist for identifying surgical patients at high risk for SSIs, no one strategy is superior for all patients. Further efforts are necessary to determine if risk stratification in combination with risk modification can reduce SSIs in these patient populations.


high risk patients; prevention; risk stratification; surgical site infection

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