Operating theatre quality and prevention of surgical site infections


Operating theatre
Surgical site infections


Surgical site infections (SSI) account for 14% to 17% of all hospital-acquired infections and 38% of nosocomial infections in surgical patients. SSI remain a substantial cause of morbid- ity and death, possibly because of the larger numbers of elderly surgical patients or those with a variety of chronic and immuno- compromising conditions, and emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. Factors causing surgical site infection are multifarious. Several studies have identified the main patient-related (endogenous risk factors) and procedure-related (external risk factors) factors that influence the risk of SSI. The rate of surgical wound infections is strongly influenced by operating theatre quality, too. A safe and salubrious operating theatre is an environment in which all sources of pollution and any micro-environmental alterations are kept strictly under control. This can be achieved only through careful planning, maintenance and periodic checks, as well as proper ongoing training for staff. Many international scientific societies have produced guidelines regarding the environmental features of operating theatres (posi- tive pressure, exchanges of filtered air per hour, air-conditioning systems with HEPA filters, etc.) and issued recommendations on healthcare-associated infection, including SSI, concerning surveillance methods, intervention to actively prevent SSI and approaches to monitoring the implementation of such strategies. Therefore, the prevention of SSI requires a multidisciplinary approach and the commitment of all concerned, including that of those who are responsible for the design, layout and functioning of operating theatres.


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