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We evaluated all surgical site infections (SSI) and postoperative bacteremias secondary to SSI as part of an ongoing active surgical surveillance program at a community hospital. Among 40,191 surgical procedures, we identified 515 patients with SSI and 47 with postoperative bacteremia secondary to SSI. Four variables were examined as potential predictors for developing postoperative bacteremia secondary to an SSI: National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance risk index, abdominal surgery, surgical procedures with an implantable device, and the presence of Staphylococcus aureus in wounds. Of these 4 variables, only one, S. aureus isolated from a wound culture, was associated with an increased risk of developing postoperative bacteremia secondary to SSI. Patients with S. aureus isolated in either pure or mixed culture from SSI were more than twice as likely to have postoperative bacteremia secondary to SSI than were those without S. aureus wound infection.