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Abstract: Adjunctive use of monthly physician questionnaires for surveillance of surgical site infections after hospital discharge and in ambulatory surgical patients: report of a seven-year experience.


Manian FA, Meyer L.


Department of Infection Control, St. John's Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, MO 63141, USA.


Am J Infect Control. 1997 Oct;25(5):390-4.


We report our experience with the use of monthly physician questionnaires, in conjunction with traditional in-house monitoring, for surveillance of surgical site infections (SSIs) in inpatients after hospital discharge and in ambulatory surgical patients (i.e., those not requiring perioperative hospitalization) over a 7-year period (July 1988 to June 1995) involving 156,977 surgical procedures. The mean annual response rate was 73% and did not change significantly from year to year (range, 71% to 75%), but the proportion of surgical procedures covered by returned surveys increased during the study period from 75% to 81% in inpatients and from 78% to 86% in ambulatory surgical patients (p < 0.0001 for both comparisons). Of 1051 SSIs identified, 231 (22%) were identified solely by the survey: 16% of SSIs in inpatients after discharge and 66% of SSIs in ambulatory surgical patients. Of 787 cases meeting the criteria for SSI on the basis of in-house surveillance and listed on returned questionnaires, 366 (47%) were not marked as SSIs by the responding surgeons. We conclude that since its implementation in 1988, monthly physician surveys at our medical center continue to contribute significantly to identification of otherwise undetected SSIs. However, monthly questionnaires should only complement, not replace, traditional in-house surveillance.


Complications Surgery Surgical Site Infection SSI