Abstract A prospective study was made of 23,649 surgical wounds. All wounds were examined by one person for 28 days after operation. National Research Council definitions and classifications were used. The overall infection rate was 4.75%, the clean rate was 1.81%. Sepsis became evident only after the patient had left the hospital in 13.2% of cases. Analysis of 15,389 clean wounds showed a reduction in the rate of infection in those using a hexachlorophene wash before operation and those whose operation site was not shaved. No reduction or increase in the rate of infection was observed when plastic skin drapes were used or when different hand-scrub preparations were used. Increase in the rate of infection occurred in old age, when drains were used, when there was a prolonged hospital stay before the operation, and when the duration of the operation was great. References 1. Post-operative wound infections: The influence of ultraviolet irradiation of the operating room and of various other factors, National Academy of Sciences—National Research Council, Division of Medical Sciences, Ad Hoc Committee of the Committee on Trauma . Ann Surg 160 ( (suppl 2) ):1-192, 1964.Crossref 2. Clarke SK: Sepsis in surgical wounds with particular reference to staphylococcus aureus . Br J Surg 44:592-596, 1967.Crossref 3. Robertson HR: Wound infection . Ann R Coll Surg Engl 23:141-154, 1958. 4. Williams REO, et al: Nasal staphylococci and sepsis in hospital patients . Br Med J 2:658-662, 1959.Crossref 5. Incidence of surgical wound infection in England and Wales: A report of the Public Health Laboratory Service, Great Britain Public Health Laboratory Service . Lancet 2:658-663, 1960. 6. Rountree PM, et al: Staphylococcal wound infection in a surgical unit . Lancet 2:1-6, 1960.Crossref 7. Myburgh JA: Sepsis at the Johannesburg General Hospital . S Afr J Surg 2:7-20, 1964. 8. Seropian R, Reynolds BM: Wound infections after preoperative depilatory versus razor preparation . Am J Surg 121:251-254, 1971.Crossref 9. Cruse PJE: Surgical wound sepsis . Can Med Assoc J 102:251-258, 1970.
Archives of Surgery – American Medical Association
Published: Aug 1, 1973
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