J Am Coll Surg. 2022 Apr 1;234(4):571-578. doi: 10.1097/XCS.0000000000000087.


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic created shortages of operating room (OR) supplies, forcing healthcare systems to make concessions regarding « standard » OR attire. At our institution, we were required to reduce shoe covers, reuse face masks, and allow washable head coverings. We determined if these changes affected surgical site infection (SSI) rates.

STUDY DESIGN: A single institutional study was performed to compare the SSI rates reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network in the 2 years preceding COVID-19 (PRE, January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020) with the first 12 months after the pandemic (POST, April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021). We confirmed our findings using propensity score matching and multivariate analysis.

RESULTS: Elimination of traditional shoe covers, disposable head covers, and single-use face masks was associated with a decreased SSI rate from 5.1% PRE to 2.6% POST (p < 0.001). Furthermore, this was despite a 14% increase in surgical volume and an increase in the number of contaminated/dirty cases (2.2% PRE vs 7.4% POST, p < 0.001). Use of disposable face masks decreased by 4.3-fold during this period from 3.5 million/y PRE to 0.8 million/y POST. Of note, inpatient hand hygiene throughout the hospital increased from 71% PRE to 85% POST (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: This analysis has practical applications as we emerge from the pandemic and make decisions regarding OR attire. These data suggest that disposable head covers and shoe covers and frequent changes of face masks are unnecessary, and discontinuation of these practices will have significant cost and environmental implications. These data also reinforce the importance of good hand hygiene for infection prevention.

PMID:35290277 | DOI:10.1097/XCS.0000000000000087

Source: ncbi 2

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