In order to assess the prevalence of surgical site infections (SSIs) before and after the implementation of a multimodal infection control programme including the realization of a campaign to increase compliance with guidelines for antimicrobial prophylaxis, we designed and conducted the present study involving all 20 of the surgical departments of a large teaching hospital in Catania, Italy.Patients and methods
SSI definitions of the Hospital in Europe Link for Infection Control through Surveillance (HELICS) protocol were used in four 1 day point-prevalence surveys. After the first survey, an infection control programme was implemented involving the active commitment of surgeons and infection control staff.Results
Overall, a total of 600 surgical patients were enrolled. A significant decreasing trend in the SSI rate (from 16.4 to 8.2 per 100 surgical patients, P = 0.018) was shown. After multivariate analysis, significant risk factors for SSI were identified: age >31 years, kidney insufficiency and infection at admission. Taking into account the indication and the timing of administration of antibiotic prophylaxis, in the four surveys prophylaxis was administered inappropriately in 55.3% of surgical procedures.Conclusions
The approach used in this study remains a feasible method of evaluating the burden of SSIs using repeated prevalence surveys. The results provide evidence of a significant decreasing trend in the SSI rate following the infection control intervention. Furthermore, our study underlines the need to develop evidence-based guidelines in collaboration with surgeons, to achieve consensus before implementation in order to improve compliance with antimicrobial prophylaxis and, finally, decrease SSI rates.