Efficacy of surveillance in nosocomial infection control in a surgical service

Am J Infect Control. 2001 Oct;29(5):289-94. doi: 10.1067/mic.2001.114625.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of surveillance of nosocomial infection in infection control at a service of general surgery.

Design: A surveillance study that included 1483 patients with a prospective identification of nosocomial infection was carried out. Its results were discussed with the staff, and a program on nosocomial infection control was implemented. One year after the pre-intervention study, a similar study that included 1506 patients was done. The main outcome measure was nosocomial infection. Incidence rates, incidence rate ratios, crude and multiple-risk factor adjusted for by Poisson regression analysis, and their 95% confidence interval rates were estimated.

Results: The characteristics of the patients enrolled in both studies were compared. After the intervention, the trend was to attend patients with more severe conditions: higher frequency of liver failure, chronic obstructive lung disease, higher proportion of dirty surgical wounds, and higher scores of both Study on the Efficacy of Nosocomial Infection Control (SENIC) and National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance indices. There were no significant differences in emergency surgery, duration of surgery, age, and sex. After the intervention, unnecessary chemoprophylaxis was drastically reduced, and a significant reduction in preoperative stay was observed. The nosocomial incidence rate fell from 18.4 to 14 per 1000 patient-days. This reduction yielded an incidence rate ratio of 0.56 (95% confidence interval, 0.43%-0.74%) adjusted for several variables (SENIC index, serum creatinine level, serum albumin level, antihistamine H2 level, surgical wound, body mass index, chemoprophylaxis, and community-acquired infection). Significant reductions in surgical site infection and urinary tract infection were observed, but the rate of respiratory tract infection remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Surveillance was effective in reducing nosocomial infection.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Surgery Department, Hospital*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*