Risk factors and outcomes associated with surgical site infections after craniotomy or craniectomy

Clinical article

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  • 1 Departments of Internal Medicine and
  • 2 Neurosurgery, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine;
  • 3 Clinical Quality, Safety, and Performance Improvement, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; and
  • 4 Departments of Biostatistics and
  • 5 Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, Iowa
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Object

Many studies that have evaluated surgical site infections (SSIs) after craniotomy or craniectomy (CRANI) did not use robust methods to assess risk factors for SSIs or outcomes associated with SSIs. The authors conducted the current study to identify risk factors for SSIs after CRANI procedures and to evaluate outcomes attributed to SSIs.

Methods

The authors performed a nested case-control study of patients undergoing CRANI procedures between 2006 and 2010 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. They identified 104 patients with SSIs and selected 312 controls. They collected data from medical records and used multivariate analyses to identify risk factors and outcomes associated with SSIs.

Results

Thirty-two percent of SSIs were caused by Staphylococcus aureus, 88% were deep incisional or organ space infections, and 70% were identified after discharge. Preoperative length of stay (LOS) ≥ 1 day was the only significant patient-related factor in the preoperative model (OR 2.1 [95% CI 1.2–3.4]) and in the overall model (OR 1.9 [95% CI 1.1–3.3]). Procedure-related risk factors that were significant in the overall model included Gliadel wafer use (OR 6.7 [95% CI 2.5–18.2]) and postoperative CSF leak (OR 3.5 [95% CI 1.4–8.5]). The preoperative SSI risk index, including body mass index, previous brain operation, chemotherapy on admission, preoperative LOS, procedure reason, and preoperative glucose level, had better predictive efficacy (c-statistic = 0.664) than the National Healthcare Safety Network risk index (c-statistic = 0.547; p = 0.004). Surgical site infections were associated with increased LOS during the initial hospitalizations (average increase of 50%) or readmissions (average increase of 100%) and with an increased risk of readmissions (OR 7.7 [95% CI 4.0–14.9]), reoperations (OR 36 [95% CI 14.9–87]), and death (OR 3.4 [95% CI 1.5–7.4]).

Conclusions

Surgeons were able to prospectively assess a patient's risk of SSI based on preoperative risk factors and they could modify some processes of care to lower the risk of SSI. Surgical site infections substantially worsened patients' outcomes. Preventing SSIs after CRANI could improve patient outcomes and decrease health care utilization.

Abbreviations used in this paper:ASA = American Society of Anesthesiologists; CRANI = craniotomy or craniectomy; ICD-9-CM = International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification; LOS = length of stay; NHSN = National Healthcare Safety Network; SSI = surgical site infection; UIHC = University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Hsiu-Yin Chiang, Ph.D., Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, 200 Hawkins Dr., Iowa City, IA 52242. email: hsiu-yin-chiang@uiowa.edu.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online November 8, 2013; DOI: 10.3171/2013.9.JNS13843.

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