Implementation methods of infection prevention measures in orthopedics and traumatology - a systematic review

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2021 Aug;47(4):1003-1013. doi: 10.1007/s00068-020-01477-z. Epub 2020 Sep 10.


Background: Prevention of hospital-acquired infections, in the clinical field of orthopedics and traumatology especially surgical site infections, is one of the major concerns of patients and physicians alike. Many studies have been conducted proving effective infection prevention measures. The clinical setting, however, requires strategies to transform this knowledge into practice.

Question/purpose: As part of the HYGArzt-Project ("Proof Of Effectivity And Efficiency Of Implementation Of Infection Prevention (IP) Measures By The Physician Responsible For Infection Prevention Matters In Traumatology/Orthopedics"), the objective of this study was to identify effective implementation strategies for IP (infection prevention) measures in orthopedics and trauma surgery.

Methods: The systematic review was conducted following PRISMA guidelines. A review protocol was drafted prior to the literature search (not registered). Literature search was performed in MEDLINE, SCOPUS and COCHRANE between January 01, 1950 and June 01, 2019. We searched for all papers dealing with infection and infection control measures in orthopedics and traumatology, which were then scanned for implementation contents. All study designs were considered eligible. Exclusion criteria were language other than English or German and insufficient reporting of implementation methods. Analyzed outcome parameters were study design, patient cohort, infection prevention measure, implementation methods, involved personnel, reported outcome of the studies and study period.

Results: The literature search resulted in 8414 citations. 13 records were eligible for analysis (all published between 2001 and 2019). Studies were primarily prospective cohort studies featuring various designs and including single IP measures to multi-measure IP bundles. Described methods of implementation were heterogeneous. Main outcome parameters were increase of adherence (iA) to infection prevention (IP) measures or decrease in surgical site infection rate (dSSI%). Positive results were reported in 11 out of 13 studies. Successful implementation methods were building of a multidisciplinary team (considered in 8 out of 11 successful studies [concerning dSSI% in 5 studies, concerning iA in five studies]), standardization of guidelines (considered in 10/11 successful studies [concerning dSSI% in 5 studies, concerning iA in seven studies]), printed or electronic information material (for patient and/or staff; considered in 9/11 successful studies [concerning dSSI% 4/4, concerning iA 5/5]), audits and regular meetings, personal training and other interactive measures as well as regular feedback (considered in 7/11 successful studies each). Personnel most frequently involved were physicians (of those, most frequently surgeons) and nursing professions.

Conclusion: Although evidence was scarce and quality-inconsistent, we found that adhering to a set of implementation methods focusing on interdisciplinary and interactive /interpersonal work might be an advisable strategy when planning IP improvement interventions in orthopedics and traumatology.

Keywords: Implementation; Infection prevention; Perioperative management; Surgical site infection.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Orthopedics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Traumatology*