Risk of Post-Cesarean Infection Up for Overweight, Obese

About 10 percent of U.K. women develop surgical site infections after cesarean section

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- About 10 percent of U.K. women who undergo cesarean section develop a surgical site infection, with the odds significantly increased for overweight or obese women, according to a study published in the October issue of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

To assess the frequency and risk factors for surgical site infections following cesarean section, Catherine Wloch, of the Health Protection Agency in London, and associates conducted a prospective study of 4,107 women who underwent cesarean section at 14 National Health Service hospitals in England between April and September of 2009.

The researchers found that 394 women (9.6 percent) developed a post-cesarean section surgical site infection, and 0.6 percent were readmitted for treatment of the infection. Major independent risk factors for infection included being overweight or obese (body mass index [BMI] of 25 to 30 kg/m²: odds ratio [OR], 1.6, and BMI of 30 to 35 kg/m²: OR, 3.7 -- both compared with BMI of 18.5 to 25 kg/m²). Surgical site infection was significantly more likely among younger women (age 20 or younger versus 25 to 30: OR, 1.9) and for operations performed by an associate specialist and staff grade surgeons versus consultants (OR, 1.6; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.0 to 2.4).

"Given the number of women delivering by cesarean section in the U.K., substantial costs will be incurred as a result of these infections," the authors write." Prevention of these infections should be a clinical and public health priority."

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