Research Article| Volume 42, ISSUE 2, P209-216, February 2011

Unexpectedly increased rate of surgical site infections following implant surgery for hip fractures: Problem solution with the bundle approach



      Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most common nosocomial infections after surgery. However, clinical guidance on how to handle any suspicious clusters of SSI in orthopaedic surgery is missing. We report on problem analysis and solution finding following the observation of an increased rate of SSI in trauma implant surgery.


      Trauma unit of a university hospital.


      Over a 2-year observation period, all patients (n = 370) following surgical stabilisation of proximal femur fractures in a trauma unit of a university hospital were consecutively followed using a standardised case report form. First, a retrospective cohort of 217 patients was collected for whom an increased SSI rate was detected. Based on risk analysis, new standard perioperative procedures were developed and implemented. The impact was evaluated in a prospective cohort of 153 comparable patients. Uni- and multivariable analysis of factors associated with the risk for SSI was undertaken.


      The intervention bundle resulted in a significant reduction of an initially increased SSI incidence of 6.9 (down) to 2.0% (p = 0.029). Multivariable analysis revealed four risk factors significantly associated with a higher risk of SSI caused by different bacteria: duration of surgery (p = 0.002), hemiarthroplasty (p = 0.002), haematoma (p = 0.004) and the presence of two operating room staff members (p < 0.001 and 0.035).


      A standardised prospective SSI protocol and detection system offering the simultaneous use of data should guarantee every institution immediate alarm registration to avoid comparable problem situations. Detailed interdisciplinary analysis followed by the implementation of coherent interventions, based on a best-evidence structured bundle approach, may adequately resolve similar critical incidence episodes.


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