Postdischarge surveillance following delivery: the incidence of infections and associated factors

Am J Infect Control. 2013 Jun;41(6):549-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


Background: To assess the effectiveness of a postdischarge surveillance system to reveal cases of postpartum infections that could be missed by the current in-hospital routine surveillance and to identify predictors of postpartum infections.

Methods: The prospective surveillance included obstetrics patients. The information recorded included sociodemographic characteristics, infection-predisposing conditions, documentation of extrinsic risk factors, variables related to pregnancy and delivery, and variables related to each patient's newborn. A telephone interview on Day 30 after hospital discharge was performed to retrieve information related to signs and symptoms of infection.

Results: One thousand seven hundred five patients agreed to participate for a response rate of 93%. One hundred forty-nine (8.9%) patients contacted by telephone reported at least 1 episode of infection within 30 days of discharge. There were 24 infections occurring during hospitalization, representing only 16.1% of all infections. There was an increased risk of postpartum infections in women with complications during labor, in those who had a caesarean delivery, and in those who reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated the need for implementing postdischarge surveillance programs for obstetrics patients that also identify infections following vaginal delivery. Postdischarge surveillance by telephone contact proved to be a feasible and effective method.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Delivery, Obstetric / adverse effects*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Population Surveillance
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology