Risk Factors For Surgical Site Infection After Elective Resection of the Colon and Rectum: A Single-Center Prospective Study of 2,809 Consecutive Patients

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To identify the risk factors for surgical site infection (SSI) in patients undergoing elective resection of the colon and rectum.

Summary Background Data

SSI causes a substantial number of deaths and complications. Determining risk factors for SSI may provide information on reducing complications and improving outcome.


The authors performed a prospective study of 2,809 consecutive patients undergoing elective colorectal resection via laparotomy between February 1995 and December 1998 at a single institution. The outcome of interest was SSI, which was classified as being incisional or organ/space with or without clinical leakage. A likelihood ratio forward regression model was used to assess the independent association of variables with SSIs.


The overall SSI, incisional SSI, and organ/space SSI with and without clinical anastomotic leakage rates were 4.7%, 3%, 2%, and 0.8%, respectively. Risk factors for overall SSI were American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) score 2 or 3 (odd ratio [OR] = 1.7), male gender (OR = 1.5), surgeons (OR = 1.3–3.3), types of operation (OR = 0.3–2.1), creation of ostomy (OR = 2.1), contaminated wound (OR = 2.9), use of drainage (OR = 1.6), and intra- or postoperative blood transfusion (1–3 units, OR = 5.3; ≥4 units, OR = 6.2). However, SSIs at specific sites differed from each other with respect to the risk factors. Among a variety of risk factors, only blood transfusion was consistently associated with a risk of SSI at any specific site.


In addition to ASA score and surgical wound class, blood transfusion, creation of ostomy, types of operation, use of drainage, sex, and surgeons were important in predicting SSIs after elective colorectal resection.

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