DOING IT BETTER: Cutting surgical-site infection rates for pacemakers and ICDs

March 2006 
Volume 36  Number 3
Pages 18 - 19
  PDF Version Available!



OUR HEART CENTER placed 477 permanent pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in 2003. Out of those surgeries, we received six reports of surgical-site infections. That was six too many. Because I'm the patient-care specialist in the invasive heart lab, my unit director asked me to research the situation and improve our process to prevent infections.

Figure. No caption available.

In this article, I'll tell you the steps I took, the evidence-based improvements we made, and the results we achieved.

Getting started

As a first step, my unit director, the technical specialist, our facility's infection control nurse, and I met to review the six infection cases. I compared our infection/complication benchmarks with those of two other facilities, reviewed the literature, and studied recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ...

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