Objective: Sparse recent data are available on the epidemiology of surgical site infections (SSIs) in community hospitals. Our objective was to provide updated epidemiology data on complex SSIs in community hospitals and to characterize trends of SSI prevalence rates over time.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: SSI data were collected from patients undergoing 26 commonly performed surgical procedures at 32 community hospitals in the southeastern United States from 2013 to 2018. SSI prevalence rates were calculated for each year and were stratified by procedure and causative pathogen.
Results: Over the 6-year study period, 3,561 complex (deep incisional or organ-space) SSIs occurred following 669,467 total surgeries (prevalence rate, 0.53 infections per 100 procedures). The overall complex SSI prevalence rate did not change significantly during the study period: 0.58 of 100 procedures in 2013 versus 0.53 of 100 procedures in 2018 (prevalence rate ratio [PRR], 0.84; 95% CI, 0.66-1.08; P = .16). Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) complex SSIs (n = 480, 13.5%) were more common than complex SSIs caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA; n = 363, 10.2%).
Conclusions: The complex SSI rate did not decrease in our cohort of community hospitals from 2013 to 2018, which is a change from prior comparisons. The reason for this stagnation is unclear. Additional research is needed to determine the proportion of or remaining SSIs that are preventable and what measures would be effective to further reduce SSI rates.