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Facility Type and Surgical Specialty Are Associated With Suboptimal Surgical Antimicrobial Prophylaxis Practice Patterns: A Multi-Center, Retrospective Cohort Study


Facility Type and Surgical Specialty Are Associated With Suboptimal Surgical Antimicrobial Prophylaxis Practice Patterns: A Multi-Center, Retrospective Cohort Study

Westyn Branch-Elliman et al. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control.


Background: Guidelines recommend discontinuation of antimicrobial prophylaxis within 24 h after incision closure in uninfected patients. However, how facility and surgical specialty factors affect the implementation of these evidence-based surgical prophylaxis guidelines in outpatient surgery is unknown. Thus, we sought to measure how facility complexity, including ambulatory surgical center (ASC) status and availability of ancillary services, impact adherence to guidelines for timely discontinuation of antimicrobial prophylaxis after outpatient surgery. A secondary aim was to measure the association between surgical specialty and guideline compliance.

Methods: A multi-center, national Veterans Health Administration retrospective cohort from 10/1/2015-9/30/2017 including any Veteran undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure in any of five specialties (general surgery, urology, ophthalmology, ENT, orthopedics) was created. The primary outcome was the association between facility complexity and proportion of surgeries not compliant with discontinuation of antimicrobials within 24 h of incision closure. Data were analyzed using logistic regression with adjustments for patient and procedural factors.

Results: Among 153,097 outpatient surgeries, 7712 (5.0%) received antimicrobial prophylaxis lasting > 24 h after surgery; rates ranged from 0.4% (eye surgeries) to 13.7% (genitourinary surgeries). Cystoscopies and cystoureteroscopy with lithotripsy procedures had the highest rates (16 and 20%), while hernia repair, cataract surgeries, and laparoscopic cholecystectomies had the lowest (0.2-0.3%). In an adjusted logistic regression model, lower complexity ASC and hospital outpatient departments had higher odds of prolonged antimicrobial prophylaxis compared to complex hospitals (OR ASC, 1.3, 95% CI: 1.2-1.5). Patient factors associated with higher odds of noncompliance with antimicrobial discontinuation included younger age, female sex, and white race. Genitourinary and ear/nose/throat surgeries were associated with the highest odds of prolonged antimicrobial prophylaxis.

Conclusions: Facility complexity appears to play a role in adherence to surgical infection prevention guidelines. Lower complexity facilities with limited infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship resources may be important targets for quality improvement. Such interventions may be especially useful for genitourinary and ear/nose/throat surgical subspecialties. Increasing pharmacy, antimicrobial stewardship and/or infection prevention resources to promote more evidence-based care may support surgical providers in lower complexity ambulatory surgery centers and hospital outpatient departments in their efforts to improve this facet of patient safety.

Keywords: Ambulatory surgery; Antimicrobial stewardship; Prophylaxis; Quality improvement; Surgical quality.

Conflict of interest statement

This study was approved by the VA Boston IRB prior to data collection and analysis. Given the retrospective nature of the work, waiver of consent was obtained.Not applicable.KI Received an investigator-initiated award from Pfizer to study the epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus surgical site infections. All other authors have no conflicts to report.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Identification of Study Sample from FY16–17 Outpatient Encounters in VA Facilities with Surgical Services

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