Objective: The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) established surgical antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines as part of a national patient safety initiative aimed at reducing surgical complications such as surgical site infection (SSI). Although these antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines have become well established in surgical patients, they remain largely unstudied in patients with injury from trauma undergoing operative procedures. We sought to determine the role of these antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines in preventing SSI in patients undergoing trauma laparotomy.
Methods: A retrospective review of all patients who underwent emergency trauma laparotomy at two Level I trauma centers (2007-2008) revealed 306 patients who survived more than 4 days after injury. Demographics and clinical risk SSI factors were analyzed, and patients were compared on the basis of adherence to the following SCIP guidelines: (1) prophylactic antibiotic given, (2) antibiotic received within 1 hour before incision, (3) correct antibiotic selection, and (4) discontinuation of antibiotic within 24 hours after surgery. The primary study end point was the development of SSI.
Results: The study sample varied by age (mean [SD], 32  years) and injury mechanism (gunshot wound 44%, stab wound 27%, blunt trauma 30%). When patients with perioperative antibiotic management complying with the four SCIP antibiotic guidelines (n = 151) were compared with those who did not comply (n = 155), no difference between age, shock, small bowel or colon resection, damage control procedures, and skin closure was detected (p > 0.05). After controlling for injury severity score, hypotension, blood transfusion, enteric injury, operative duration, and other potential confounding variables in a multivariate analysis, complete adherence to these four SCIP antibiotic guidelines independently decreased the risk of SSI (odds ratio, 0.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.20-0.94; p = 0.035). Patients adhering to these guidelines less often developed SSI (17% vs. 33%, p = 0.001) and had shorter overall hospital duration of antibiotics (4  vs. 9  days, p < 0.001) and hospital length of stay (14  vs. 19  days, p = 0.016), although no difference in mortality was detected (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: Our results suggest that SCIP antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines effectively reduce the risk of SSI in patients undergoing trauma laparotomy. Despite the emergent nature of operative procedures for trauma, efforts to adhere to these antibiotic guidelines should be maintained.