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New Study Breaks Ground in Preventing Post-Surgical Infections: An In-Depth Look at Effective Pre-Surgical Protocols

A ground-breaking study, featured in the esteemed American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), has reaffirmed the significance of pre-surgical infection prevention protocols in reducing post-surgical complications. The research was carried out at Israel’s Soroka University Medical Center, focusing primarily on surgical site infections (SSIs) – a critical strain of healthcare-associated infections with alarming outcomes.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015 alone, SSIs were linked to over 110,000 inpatient surgical procedures in the United States. Their induced morbidity and mortality rates are astronomically high, with the patient death risk surging up to 11 times the norm. The economic strain of SSIs is no less severe, with an extension of nearly 10 days in hospital stays and a net cost rise of about $20,000 per patient. Despite suggested protocols being in place to limit SSIs, challenges in patient compliance, escalated costs, and bacterial resistance often push the prevention efforts off the mark.

The recent study aimed at assessing a detailed protocol designed to lessen SSIs, specifically focusing on controlling the Staphylococcus aureus pathogen. The strategy deployed a pre-operative intranasal application of povidone-iodine and skin antisepsis utilizing chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). This investigation consisted of 688 adult patients who underwent hip or knee arthroplasty or spinal surgery at the Soroka University Medical Center from February 2018 to October 2021. Their outcomes were then compared with a retrospective patient batch from 2016 to 2017, who were treated before the protocol was implemented. The results were tracked for 90 days post-surgery. This proactive approach sought to tackle a prevalent healthcare issue where approximately 30% of the population is colonized with S. aureus without any visible symptoms.

The newly introduced protocol successfully eliminated S. aureus in nearly 40% of the patient pool already infected by the pathogen. The study also exhibited a substantial decrease in severe SSIs amongst the patients prescribed under the new protocol. ‘Our study evidences that a simple pre-surgical nasal application of povidone-iodine coupled with standard CHG bathing can considerably alleviate surgical site infections, thereby making patients safer,’ remarked Lisa Saidel-Odes, MD, Infectious Diseases specialist at Soroka University Medical Center and lead author of the paper.

The research advocates for an additional application of the povidone-iodine for individuals with greater nasal colonization of S. aureus. There are strong indications that this widely available antiseptic measure can be successfully implemented to cut down SSIs, enhance patient safety, and bypass antibiotic resistance threats. As one of the foremost resources on infectious diseases and its prevention, the American Journal of Infection Control is committed to disseminating such vital findings that can influence the future course of healthcare safety and infection prevention.


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