SSIs – time to de-invest in laminar flow?

Laminar flow is a very embedded technology for the prevention of SSI in some types of surgery (especially hip and knee arthroplasty). However, it seems from a recent Lancet ID review that this widely adopted practice is way ahead of the evidence supporting it: the bottom line finding of the review is we should stop wasting time and money on laminar flow theatres for some procedures, and focus on basic prevention initiatives (especially getting antibiotic prophylaxis right) in all surgical categories.

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Agent Orange in spinal surgery

This week I learned from an orthopaedic surgeon that randomized trials were something that could be of use in “pharmaceutical sciences”, but that it is well-known that in the “surgical science” retrospective analyses are better for deriving evidence. We came to this when discussing the benefits of powdered vancomycin in the wounds of spinal surgery. Apparently this is something “all spinal orthopaedics do”, because it works so good. Continue reading

Friday Afternoon: ATP vs UV vs eyeball Vs K9 and Going Commando in Surgery

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 12.26.42Well I was looking for a Friday afternoon sort of post and you know when you wait a while and two come at once?.. So firstly, some may recall that I have previously highlighted the utility of a sensitive nose in detecting a variety of things in a previous post. In a study just posted online first in the Journal of Hospital Infection, a springer spaniel was trained to detect C. difficile in the environment with a fair degree of success, especially for detecting rooms in which C. difficile was not present. Continue reading

SSI – It’s not what you do, but the way that you do it?

20140801-135-see-rock_festival_2014-rick_parfittAnother of my favourite guitarists succumbed to sepsis following surgery just before Xmas, with the sad passing of Rick Parfitt following shoulder surgery, spookily the day after his band Status quo performed their final electric gig (which I was at). The other was Rory Gallagher, who died a few years ago now of MRSA.  Surgical procedures are normally carried out under what should be the most controllable of conditions, yet there are variations in practice, a paucity of quality studies on even the most basic of interventions (such as pre-op bathing) and even when there is good evidence, it is ignored. However I do also wonder if we have been missing something. A paper that suggests no difference between Chlorhexidine (CHG) and Povidone Iodine (PI) for pre-surgical skin prep (both aqueous) recently piqued my interest. It was an RCT (non-blinded) undertaken in clean-contaminated upper gastrointestinal or hepatobiliary–pancreatic open surgery, however that wasn’t the aspect that I became interested in. Continue reading

WHO guideline on SSI prevention: more clear than feasible?

The WHO guideline for SSI prevention was launched as if it were the iPhone8. I immediately went looking for what I think is the intervention with the strongest evidence: pre-op nasal mupirocine and CHX bathing, see why here. After an interesting read I’m pleased that the guideline is clear, but I missed an evaluation on feasibility and the evidence for simplification is turned around.

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Why are we not using existing data for healthcare-associated infection surveillance?


This is a guest post by Dr Gabriel Birgand (bio below), a researcher at Imperial College London…

Surveillance is an essential component in any infection control programme. In UK, the surveillance of infections associated with some procedures (e.g. certain orthopaedic procedures) is mandated by Public Health England. This surveillance requires time and represents either a full time job (i.e. dedicated nurses doing the data collection and follow-up of patients undergoing surgery) or additional work (i.e. surveillance of catheter-associated urinary tract infection by infection control nurses). This process is time-consuming, expensive and dependent on the rigour of the person in charge of the surveillance. Despite proven value, the involved nature of the method makes these manual HCAI surveillance systems difficult cumbersome to deliver. Moreover, hospitals often struggle to recruit and retain nursing staff dedicated to surveillance meaning that reporting is frequently incorporated into other posts, which interrupts other clinical duties and may reduce the detail of reporting.

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Everything is in place.. so that’s alright then

8465992771_213dabc72c_zI am always interested in compliance. What makes staff implement an intervention reliably? What makes a patient follow the advice they’ve been given? A new retrospective cohort study purports to look at what factors influence compliance with preoperative regimes aimed at preventing surgical site infection (SSI). The authors were of the opinion that socio-economic group would be a major factor in whether individuals would be compliant with measures that are likely to reduce the risk of SSI, since this has been demonstrated to be the case in chronic health issues such as asthma. Disappointingly the authors stated that the method of determining at adherence is described elsewhere with the accompanying reference to an 4-minute abstract given at a paediatric orthopaedic conference in Toronto in 2013 which, if you weren’t there, you’ve missed it. However they do provide a small amount of detail and of the 2-5 protocol tasks they only mention bathing and decolonisation of those screened.

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