Reflective consideration of postoperative endophthalmitis as a quality marker

Eye (Lond). 2007 Nov;21(11):1419-26. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6701996. Epub 2005 Jul 13.


Purpose: To study the incidence of acute postoperative presumed infectious endophthalmitis (PIE) in a UK district general hospital over a 10-year period. Consideration of such departmental healthcare-associated infection frequency rates as part of reflective and comparative quality practice in the light of local concerns.

Methods: Hospital-based retrospective case series: 12 831 cataract extraction operations from 01/01/1995 to 31/12/2004 were studied. All cases of PIE within 6 weeks of cataract surgery were ascertained and investigated in a standardised format. PIE incidence rate per 1000 cataract surgical procedures was contrasted with the existing literature.

Results: Seven isolated PIE cases occurred following phacoemulsification. None followed extra-capsular extractions. The PIE rate was 0.55 [95% CI; 0.22 to 1.12] cases per 1000 cataract extractions, or one PIE case within 6 weeks of surgery in every 1833 [95% CI; 893 to 4545] cataract operations undertaken. Five cases were culture positive. Details of PIE cases are presented.

Conclusion: PIE incidence rates in our department are slightly lower than reported case series in similar settings. Whether this is due to a variety of preventive measures deployed locally and/or methods of case ascertainment in published studies is problematic and is discussed. Departmental benchmarking data is important in relation to rare, but critical, patient safety incidents. Collection and monitoring of endophthalmitis outcomes is of merit and may inform patient choice. Surgical site infection surveillance systems of relevance are discussed. Implications for making healthcare safer, including reflective practice are, discussed in relation to cataract care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract Extraction / standards*
  • Cataract Extraction / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Endophthalmitis / epidemiology*
  • Endophthalmitis / etiology
  • Endophthalmitis / microbiology
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitals, District / standards
  • Hospitals, General / standards
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies