Journal Article

Nonpharmacological Prevention of Surgical Wound Infections

Robert A. Weinstein, Daniel I. Sessler and Ozan Akça

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 35, issue 11, pages 1397-1404
Published in print December 2002 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2002 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/344275
Nonpharmacological Prevention of Surgical Wound Infections

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Postoperative wound infection is a common and serious complication of surgery. This review will focus on 2 factors known to modulate perioperative immunity: maintenance of perioperative normothermia and provision of supplemental perioperative oxygen. Hypothermia causes numerous adverse outcomes, including morbid myocardial events, increased blood loss and transfusion requirement, postsurgical wound infections, and prolonged hospitalization. Perioperative normothermia should thus be maintained unless therapeutic hypothermia is specifically indicated. Supplemental perioperative oxygen (inspired fraction of 80% instead of 30%) significantly reduces postoperative nausea and vomiting, diminishes the decrease in phagocytosis and bacterial killing usually associated with anesthesia and surgery, and reduces the rate of postoperative wound infection among patients who undergo colon resection. Available data thus suggest that supplemental perioperative oxygen improves surgical outcome with little or no associated risk.

Journal Article.  5395 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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