Surgical site infections following craniotomy focusing on possible post-operative acquisition of infection: prospective cohort study
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Neurosurgery is characterized by a prolonged risk period for surgical site infection (SSI), mainly related to the presence of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drains. We aimed to examine factors associated with post-neurosurgical SSIs, focusing on post-operative factors. A prospective cohort study was conducted in a single center over a period of 18 months in Israel. Included were adult patients undergoing clean or clean-contaminated craniotomy, including craniotomies with external CSF drainage or shunts. SSIs were defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for healthcare-associated infections. All patients were followed up for 90 days and those with foreign body insertion for 1 year. We compared patients with and without SSI. A multivariable regression analysis for SSI was conducted including uncorrelated variables significantly associated with SSI. A total of 502 patients were included, with 138 (27.5 %) undergoing emergent or urgent craniotomy. The overall SSI rate was 5.6 % (28 patients), of which 3.2 % (16 patients) were intracerebral. Non-elective surgery, external CSF drainage/monitoring devices, re-operation, and post-operative respiratory failure were independently associated with subsequent SSI. External CSF devices was the only significant risk factor for intracerebral SSIs (p < 0.001). Internal shunts or other foreign body insertions were not associated with SSIs. A phenotypically identical isolate to that causing the SSI was isolated from respiratory secretions prior to the SSI in 4/9 patients with microbiologically documented intracerebral SSIs. Patients with SSIs had longer hospital stay, poorer functional capacity on discharge, and higher 90-day mortality. We raise the possibility of post-operative infection acquisition through external CSF devices. Standard operating procedures for their maintenance are necessary.
We thank the surgical nursing staff for the data collection during surgery.
Conflict of interest
All authors report no conflicts of interest relevant to this article.
Clalit Health Services, Health Policy and Health Services Research Grant.
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