S. aureus Infections a Greater Risk After Certain Procedures

Cardiothoracic and neurosurgical procedures linked to higher risk of invasive infections
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- The frequency and type of invasive Staphylococcus aureus infections following surgeries vary according to the type of procedure, with cardiothoracic and neurosurgical procedures linked to the highest risks, according to research published in the July issue of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Deverick J. Anderson, M.D., of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data from 81,267 patients who underwent 96,455 procedures in 11 hospitals. They assessed infection following orthopedic, neurosurgical, cardiothoracic, and plastic surgery procedures.

The researchers found that the overall incidence of invasive S. aureus infection was 0.47 per 100 procedures, and 51 percent were due to methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Invasive infection -- defined as nonsuperficial surgical site infection or bloodstream infection -- ranged from 0.79 infections per 100 cardiothoracic procedures to 0.32 for plastic surgeries. S. aureus bloodstream infections were most common following cardiothoracic procedures (0.57 per 100 procedures), and the highest rate of surgical site infections was seen after neurosurgical procedures (0.50 per 100 procedures).

"Our study emphasizes that, with regard to the epidemiological characteristics of S. aureus infections after different types of surgical procedures, one size does not fit all. Although 100 percent prevention of postoperative infection is likely impossible, we must continue to strive for better preventative interventions for our most deadly and costly infections," the authors conclude.

The study received financial support from Merck & Co. Several co-authors disclosed financial associations with Merck and other pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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