Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus is a major risk factor for surgical-site infections in orthopedic surgery

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2000 May;21(5):319-23. doi: 10.1086/501763.


Objective: To determine the relative importance of different risk factors for the development of surgical-site infections (SSIs) in orthopedic surgery with prosthetic implants.

Design: In a cohort of 272 patients, the following possible risk factors were studied: age, gender, method of hair removal, duration of operation, surgeon, underlying illness, and nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus. Infections were recorded following the Centers for Disease Control criteria. The relation between risk factors and SSI was tested in univariate and multiple logistic regression analysis.

Setting: Community hospital in Breda, The Netherlands.

Results: 18 (6.6%) of 272 patients experienced SSI: 11 superficial and 7 deep SSI. These infections led in three cases to removal of the prosthesis and caused 286 extra days in hospital. The main causative pathogen was S aureus. In multiple logistic regression analysis, the following factors were independent risk factors for the development of SSI: high-level nasal carriage of S aureus (P=.04), male gender (P=.005), and surgeon 1 (P=.006). The only independent risk factor for SSI with S aureus was high-level nasal carriage of S aureus (P=.002).

Conclusion: High-level nasal carriage of S aureus was the most important and only significant independent risk factor for developing SSI with S aureus.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nose / microbiology*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology