Surgical Site Infection Surveillance: Analysis of Adherence to Recommendations for Routine Infection Control Practices

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To evaluate the application of surgical site infection control procedures in general surgery departments in hospitals in the Piemonte region of Italy.


The descriptive study entailed 1 week of observation in the general surgery departments and 1 week of observation in the operating rooms of 49 hospitals in Piemonte; the survey was conducted in 2003.


Data collection forms were designed to record information about presurgical patient preparation (form 1) and infection control practices routinely used by surgical teams (form 2).


A total of 856 patients were observed; 88% of operations were surgical wound class I or II; 70.6% of patients had hair removed, 28.8% showered the day before the operation; antimicrobial prophylaxis was administered in 63.3% of cases (68.4% on induction of anesthesia and 26% on the day of the operation) and was continued into the postoperative period in 43% of cases. A total of 799 operations were observed; the mean number of healthcare personnel in the operating room was 6; doors were opened an average of 12 times during an operation; 88% of the surgical team members wore a cap/hood and mask correctly; 25% of surgeons and 41% of instrument nurses wore an eye shield; preoperative hand and forearm scrubbing technique was correct in 78% of cases (surgeons, 74.6%; instrument nurses, 86.6%; and anesthesiologists, 73%).


A comparison between the survey data and the international recommendations for SSI prevention highlighted practices that could be improved with corrective interventions. The study provided an opportunity for sharing feedback on appropriate data with healthcare personnel and was an effective instrument to audit infection control practices.

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