Impact of participation in a surgical site infection surveillance network: results from a large international cohort study.

Abbas, Mohamed; de Kraker, Marlieke Ea; Aghayev, Emin; Astagneau, Pascal; Aupee, Martine; Behnke, Michael; Bull, Ann; Choi, Hee Jung; de Greeff, Sabine C; Elgohari, Suzanne; Gastmeier, Petra; Harrison, Wendy; Koek, Mayke Bg; Lamagni, Theresa; Limon-Cáceres, Enric; Løwer, Hege Line; Lyytikäinen, Outi; Marimuthu, Kalisvar; Marquess, John; McCann, Rebecca; ... (2019). Impact of participation in a surgical site infection surveillance network: results from a large international cohort study. Journal of hospital infection, 102(3), pp. 267-276. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jhin.2018.12.003

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Surveillance of surgical site infections (SSI) is a core component of effective infection control practices, though its impact has not been quantified on a large scale. This study aims to determine the time-trend of SSI rates in surveillance networks.


SSI surveillance networks provided procedure-specific data on numbers of SSIs and operations, stratified by hospitals' year of participation in the surveillance, to capture length of participation as an exposure. Pooled and procedure-specific random-effects Poisson regression was performed to obtain yearly rate ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), and including surveillance network as random intercept.


Of 36 invited networks, 17 networks from 15 high-income countries across Europe, Asia and Australasia participated in the study. Aggregated data on 17 surgical procedures (cardio-vascular, digestive, gynaecologic-obstetrical, neurosurgical, and orthopaedic) were collected, resulting in data concerning 5,831,737 operations and 113,166 SSIs. There was a significant decrease in overall SSI rates over surveillance time resulting in a 35% reduction at the ninth (final) included year of surveillance (RR 0.65; 95% CI 0.63-0.67). There were large variations across procedure-specific trends, but strong consistent decreases were observed for colorectal surgery, herniorrhaphy, Caesarean section, hip prosthesis, and knee prosthesis.


In this large, international cohort study, pooled SSI rates showed a were associated with a stable and sustainable decrease after joining a SSI surveillance network; a causal relationship is possible, although unproven. There was heterogeneity in procedure-specific trends. These findings support the pivotal role of surveillance in reducing infection rates and call for widespread implementation of hospital-based SSI surveillance in high-income countries.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Aghayev, Emin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Tanya Karrer

Date Deposited:

18 Dec 2018 10:36

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:22

Publisher DOI:


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