Most relevant strategies for preventing surgical site infection after total hip arthroplasty: guideline recommendations and expert opinion

Am J Infect Control. 2013 Mar;41(3):221-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.03.027. Epub 2012 Sep 21.


Background: Numerous strategies are available to prevent surgical site infections in hip arthroplasty, but there is no consensus on which might be the best. This study examined infection prevention strategies currently recommended for patients undergoing hip arthroplasty.

Methods: Four clinical guidelines on infection prevention/orthopedics were reviewed. Infection control practitioners, infectious disease physicians, and orthopedic surgeons were consulted through structured interviews and an online survey. Strategies were classified as "highly important" if they were recommended by at least one guideline and ranked as significantly or critically important by ≥75% of the experts.

Results: The guideline review yielded 28 infection prevention measures, with 7 identified by experts as being highly important in this context: antibiotic prophylaxis, antiseptic skin preparation of patients, hand/forearm antisepsis by surgical staff, sterile gowns/surgical attire, ultraclean/laminar air operating theatres, antibiotic-impregnated cement, and surveillance. Controversial measures included antibiotic-impregnated cement and, considering recent literature, laminar air operating theatres.

Conclusions: Some of these measures may already be accepted as routine clinical practice, whereas others are controversial. Whether these practices should be continued for this patient group will be informed by modeling the cost-effectiveness of infection prevention strategies. This will allow predictions of long-term health and cost outcomes and thus inform decisions on how to best use scarce health care resources for infection control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Expert Testimony
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*