Postdischarge surveillance for infection following cesarean section: A prospective cohort study comparing methodologies

Am J Infect Control. 2016 Apr 1;44(4):455-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.10.023. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


Objective: To assess how enhanced postdischarge telephone follow-up calls would improve case finding for surgical site infection (SSI) surveillance after cesarean section.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of all patients who delivered by cesarean section between April 22 and August 22, 2010. In addition to our routine surveillance, using clinical databases and electronic patient records, we also made follow-up calls to the patients at 7, 14, and 30 days postoperation. A standard questionnaire with questions about symptoms of SSI, health-seeking behaviors, and treatment received was administered. Descriptive statistics and univariate analysis were performed to assess the effect of the enhanced surveillance.

Results: One hundred ninety-three patients underwent cesarean section during this study period. Standard surveillance identified 14 infections with telephone follow-ups identifying an additional 5 infections. Using the call as a gold standard, the sensitivity of the standard methodology to capture SSI was 73.3%. The duration of the calls ranged from 1 to 5 minutes and were well received by the patients.

Conclusions: Results suggest that follow-up telephone calls to patients following cesarean section identifies 26.3% of the total SSIs. Enhanced surveillance can provide more informed data to enhance performance and avoid underestimation of rates.

Keywords: Cesarean section infection; Post-discharge surveillance; Surgical site infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult