Tissue Oxygenation Test Predicts Surgical Site Infection

Subcutaneous oxygen measured with near-infrared spectroscopy may identify at-risk patients
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Subcutaneous oxygen concentrations, measurable by a simple test, appear to be highly predictive of a patient's risk for developing postoperative surgical site infections (SSIs), according to research published in the October issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Raghavendra Govinda, M.D., of the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues used near-infrared spectroscopy to measure postoperative tissue oxygen saturation (Sto2) at the upper arm and the thenar muscle in 116 patients undergoing colon resection.

The researchers found that SSI was diagnosed in 23 patients (20 percent) an average of nine days after surgery. Patients who developed SSIs had lower Sto2 measurements at the upper arm than those who did not develop SSIs; the measurements had a sensitivity and specificity of 71 and 60 percent, respectively, for predicting SSI when Sto2 of 66 percent was the cutoff point.

"Sto2 measured at the upper arm only 75 minutes after colorectal surgery predicted development of postoperative SSI, although the infections were typically diagnosed more than a week later. Although further testing is required, Sto2 measurements may be able to predict SSI and thus allow earlier preventive measures to be implemented," the authors write.

The study was supported in part by Hutchinson Technology Inc.

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