Intraoperative Noise Linked to Surgical-Site Infection

High sound levels may affect surgeon behavior and increase occurrence of surgical-site infection

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Intraoperative noise is significantly associated with the occurrence of subsequent surgical-site infection (SSI), according to a study published online May 27 in the British Journal of Surgery.

A. Kurmann, from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, and colleagues investigated the correlation between noise level in an operating theater and subsequent SSI. During 35 elective open abdominal surgeries, behavior of surgeons was evaluated by a questionnaire, and the noise intensity was recorded digitally in decibels (dB) every second. SSI occurring within 30 days of surgery was the main outcome measured.

The investigators identified six cases with SSI. There was no significant difference in the demographic parameters or operation duration between patients with and without SSI. Patients with SSI were subjected to a significantly higher median sound level (43.5 versus 25.0 dB) and median level above baseline (10.7 versus 0.6 dB). Peak sound levels of at least 4 dB above the median were present in 22.5 and 10.7 percent of the peaks in patients with and without SSI, respectively. Non-surgery related conversation contributed significantly to higher sound levels.

"Intraoperative noise volume was associated with SSI. This may be due to a lack of concentration, or a stressful environment, and may therefore represent a surrogate parameter by which to assess the behavior of a surgical team," the authors write.

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