Morbidity associated with surgical site infection (SSI) following nonshunt pediatric neurosurgical procedures is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to analyze acute morbidity and mortality associated with SSI after nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery using a nationwide cohort.
The authors reviewed data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric (NSQIP-P) 2012–2014 database, including all neurosurgical procedures performed on pediatric patients. Procedures were categorized by Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. CSF shunts were excluded. Deep and superficial SSIs occurring within 30 days of an index procedure were identified. Deep SSIs included deep wound infections, intracranial abscesses, meningitis, osteomyelitis, and ventriculitis. The following outcomes occurring within 30 days of an index procedure were analyzed, along with postoperative time to complication development: sepsis, wound disruption, length of postoperative stay, readmission, reoperation, and death.
A total of 251 procedures associated with a 30-day SSI were identified (2.7% of 9296 procedures). Superficial SSIs were more common than deep SSIs (57.4% versus 42.6%). Deep SSIs occurred more frequently after epilepsy or intracranial tumor procedures. Superficial SSIs occurred more frequently after skin lesion, spine, Chiari decompression, craniofacial, and myelomeningocele closure procedures. The mean (± SD) postoperative length of stay for patients with any SSI was 9.6 ± 14.8 days (median 4 days). Post-SSI outcomes significantly associated with previous SSI included wound disruption (12.4%), sepsis (15.5%), readmission (36.7%), and reoperation (43.4%) (p < 0.001 for each). Post-SSI sepsis rates (6.3% vs 28.0% for superficial versus deep SSI, respectively; p < 0.001), wound disruption rates (4.9% vs 22.4%, p < 0.001), and reoperation rates (23.6% vs 70.1%, p < 0.001) were significantly greater for patients with deep SSIs. Postoperative length of stay in patients discharged before SSI development was not significantly different for deep versus superficial SSI (4.2 ± 2.7 vs 3.6 ± 2.4 days, p = 0.094). No patient with SSI died within 30 days after surgery.
Thirty-day SSI is associated with significant 30-day morbidity in pediatric patients undergoing nonshunt neurosurgery. Rates of SSI-associated complications are significantly lower in patients with superficial infection than in those with deep infection. There were no cases of SSI-related mortality within 30 days of the index procedure.