Enhanced identification of postoperative infections among outpatients

Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Nov;10(11):1931-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1011.040784.


We investigated using administrative claims data to identify surgical site infections (SSI) after breast surgery and cesarean section. Postoperative diagnosis codes, procedure codes, and pharmacy information were automatically scanned and used to identify claims suggestive of SSI ("indicators") among 426 (22%) of 1,943 breast procedures and 474 (10%) of 4,859 cesarean sections. For 104 breast procedures with indicators explained in available medical records, SSI were confirmed for 37%, and some infection criteria were present for another 27%. Among 204 cesarean sections, SSI were confirmed for 40%, and some criteria were met for 27%. The extrapolated infection rates of 2.8% for breast procedures and 3.1% for cesarean section were similar to those reported by the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance program but differ in representing predominantly outpatient infections. Claims data may complement other data sources for identification of surgical site infections following breast surgery and cesarean section.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automation
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Reporting
  • Insurance, Health
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects
  • Massachusetts
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / diagnosis*