Surgical Site Infection
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April 14, 2013
Surgical Site Infection
Surgical site infection (SSI) is a continuous representation of a large part of health care related infections. The impact on mortality, cost of care, and morbidity has resulted in surgical site infections being recognized as a high priority in the US Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections. “The majority of SSIs are largely preventable and evidence-based strategies have been available for over ten years and implemented in many hospitals, as nationally recognized by SCIP and SHEA in the US” (Institute for Healthcare ...view middle of the document...
Surgical site infection occurs subsequent to the surgery in the fraction of the body where the surgery was performed. Although most surgeries do not result in infection, each year more than 300,000 surgical site infections occur resulting in 1-3 out of 100 patients developing surgical site infections. The skin is the body’s main barrier to infection and is opened when surgery performed. “Pathogens from either the patient themselves or from an outside source, such as the environment, can more easily enter the body through the incision site or by way of implanted tissue or an implanted device and therefore cause infection” (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2011). Surgical site infections can be severe and engross deep tissues beneath the organs, implanted material, or skin. They can also be superficial and involve only the skin. Surgical site infections are a resource of serious illness as well as death, and can result in an additional hospital stay for the patient and maybe long-term disability. Pain and redness around the surgical area, “drainage of cloudy fluid around the surgical wound, and fever” (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2011) are all symptoms of a surgical site infection. A patient is more at risk for SSI if they have underlying health condition, the surgical site is not cleaned thoroughly, or if the surgery is a long procedure. Surgical site infections are clinically apparent to diagnose. However, to establish the definite cause of the infection, specimens must be amassed and examined in the lavatory. SII can also be diagnosed utilizing radiologic (X-ray). The majority of surgical site infections cases can treated by targeting the organism causing the infection with antibiotics. In other cases additional surgery may be needed to treat the infection or replace or remove the implanted device or tissue.
Approximately half of all surgical site infections are preventable. There are numerous protocols and guidelines that have been developed by government agencies and medical societies for doctors, as well as nurses, health care providers must follow in an attempt to reduce SSIs from occurring. Surgical site infections are preventable by following these steps:
* Administer the patient antibiotics prior to surgery. In the majority of cases, 60 minutes before the surgery is started patients will be given antibiotics and will be stooped witting 24hrs post operation.
* Ensure to keep the patient warm. Some studies show that not allowing patients undergoing surgery to stay cold prior and during surgery are less at risk of getting a surgical site infection.
* Clean their arms and hands up to their elbows utilizing a special soap that exterminate germs right before the surgery begins.
* Use electrical clippers in lieu of a razor to remove the patient’s hair around the site where the surgery is going to be performed right before the procedure. Shaving the area with a razor will enhance the risk of infection.