Surgical site infection (SSI) complicates 5% of all surgical procedures in the UK and is a major cause of postoperative morbidity and a substantial drain on healthcare resources. Little is known about the incidence of SSI and its consequences in women undergoing surgery for gynaecological cancer. Our aim was to perform the first national audit of SSI following gynaecological cancer surgery through the establishment of a UK-wide trainee-led research network.
Design and setting
In a prospective audit, we collected data from all women undergoing laparotomy for suspected gynaecological cancer at 12 specialist oncology centres in the UK during an 8-week period in 2015. Clinicopathological data were collected, and wound complications and their sequelae were recorded during the 30 days following surgery.
In total, 339 women underwent laparotomy for suspected gynaecological cancer during the study period. A clinical diagnosis of SSI was made in 54 (16%) women. 33% (18/54) of women with SSI had prolonged hospital stays, and 11/37 (29%) had their adjuvant treatment delayed or cancelled. Multivariate analysis found body mass index (BMI) was the strongest risk factor for SSI (OR 1.08[95% CI 1.03 to 1.14] per 1 kg/m 2 increase in BMI [p=0.001]). Wound drains (OR 2.92[95% CI 1.41 to 6.04], p=0.004) and staple closure (OR 3.13[95% CI 1.50 to 6.56], p=0.002) were also associated with increased risk of SSI.
SSI is common in women undergoing surgery for gynaecological cancer leading to delays in discharge and adjuvant treatment. Resultant delays in adjuvant treatment may impact cancer-specific survival rates. Modifiable factors, such as choice of wound closure material, offer opportunities for reducing SSI and reducing morbidity in these women. There is a clear need for new trials in SSI prevention in this patient group; our trainee-led initiative provides a platform for their successful completion.
- gynaecological oncology
- hospital acquired infection
- noscomial infection
- surgical site infection
- wound management
ASJC Scopus subject areas