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Elevated Post-Op Glucose Ups Risk of Surgical Site Infection

Vascular surgeries also carry higher infection risk, but risk factors differ

TUESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Postoperative hyperglycemia is an important risk factor for surgical site infection (SSI) in general surgical procedures, but only operative time and diabetes are associated with SSI after vascular procedures, according to research published in the September issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Ashar Ata, of Albany Medical College in New York, and colleagues conducted a retrospective medical record review of surgery patients in an institutional quality improvement database between Nov. 1, 2006, and April 30, 2009. The purpose of the study was to determine whether postoperative hyperglycemia is an independent risk factor for postoperative SSI.

The researchers found that increasing age, emergency surgery, American Society of Anesthesiologists classes P3 to P5, operative time, and diabetes were all significant predictors of SSI for general (non-vascular) surgery patients; however, after adjustment for postoperative glucose level, only incremental postoperative glucose level remained significantly associated with SSI risk. Vascular surgery patients were more likely to have an SSI (odds ratio, 1.8) than general surgery patients, but operative time and diabetes mellitus -- not postoperative hyperglycemia -- were the only factors associated with SSI in this subset of surgical patients.

"If hyperglycemia is confirmed in future prospective studies with better postoperative glucose data to be an independent risk factor for post-surgical infection in general surgery patients, this would give surgeons a modifiable variable to reduce the incidence of postoperative infection," the authors write.

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