oa South African Family Practice - Surgical site infections : review

Volume 56, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a worldwide problem that has far reaching implications on patient morbidity and mortality as well as significant financial implications. Worldwide it has an incidence of between 2-5%, with an incidence as high as 20% in colorectal surgery. It is the third most common nosocomial infection, and the most common nosocomial infection amongst surgical patients with up to 38% of nosocomial infections being due to surgical site infections. On average, it increases length of hospital stay by 7-10 days and in America in 2002, it was estimated to cost between $3 000 - $30 000 per incident of a surgical site infection. This cost estimate excluded cost to the patient after discharge from hospital. Patients whose surgery was complicated by a SSI had a 2-11% higher risk of death. In those patients who died, 75% was directly attributable to the SSI.

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