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Preventing and detecting surgical-site infections

Sharon Parsley (sharon.parsley@adventhealth.com) is a Regional Corporate Responsibility Officer for AdventHealth in Ocala, FL.

According to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 10 million inpatient surgical procedures are performed in the U.S. each year, and 2%–4% of those patients experience a post-operative surgical site infection (SSI).[1] As the name suggests, an SSI is an infection of or near the site of an invasive procedure or involving the organ or space on which a procedure is performed.

I was staggered by a media report a while back that indicated that three times as many people die in the US annually as a result of SSIs than die from gun-related violence.[2] The aging US population, growing rates of surgical patients who have complex comorbidities, and the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens yield increasing costs and complications, and continue to challenge conventional methods of preventing and treating SSIs.[3]

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