Surgical Site Infections: Wound and Stump Infections

  • Nasia SafdarEmail author
  • Sara A. M. Zerbel
  • Elizabeth Ann Misch


Surgical site infections (SSIs) following transplantation have been linked to increased mortality, graft rejection, increased length of stay, and increased resource utilization ). Rates of SSI vary and can reach as high as 37% for some transplant procedures . The risk of infection depends greatly on type of surgery and patient-specific factors. Postoperative wound infections following transplant generally occur within 30 days of surgery and can range from superficial to organ/space involvement. A number of factors predispose transplant patients to SSI including immunosuppression, reoperation, diabetes, and obesity . The route of infection is dependent on type of transplant surgery and may be both endogenous and exogenous . Microorganisms in posttransplant SSIs are primarily bacterial; however, fungal infections may also play a role . Multidrug-resistant organisms are becoming an increasingly common culprit of SSI in this population due to a heavy exposure to the healthcare system, use of prophylactic antibiotics, and immunosuppression. There are few guidelines to direct therapy. In general, management with debridement alone is not sufficient in the transplant population, due to impaired host defenses. Culture or PCR of tissues is critical to diagnose resistant or unexpected pathogens. Depending upon local epidemiology and site of infection, antibiotics to target resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms (including Pseudomonas), Candida, and, on occasion, Aspergillus, may be necessary. Measures to prevent SSI during the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative period should be evidence-based and incorporated into hospital quality control initiatives.


Surgical site infection Transplant National Healthcare Safety Network Wound classification Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nasia Safdar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sara A. M. Zerbel
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Ann Misch
    • 3
  1. 1.Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health, and the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans HospitalMadisonUSA
  2. 2.UnityPoint Health-Meriter, Department of Performance ImprovementMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA

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