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Surgical Site Infection Prevention

A Surgical Site Infection (SSI) occurs at the site of a surgical incision. Germs can get into the incision area, and cause an infection. It can develop within 30 days of an operation, or sometimes even up to one year if an implant (such as a knee or hip joint implant) is used. Infections can be minor, or occasionally they can increase complications that result in a longer length of stay in the hospital, or an increased readmission rate for patients. Post-operative SSIs are the most common health care-associated infections in surgical patients.

The NHS has a number of practices in place to help prevent surgical site infections, including administering antibiotics to patients at a certain time before their surgery. This indicator measures whether those antibiotics were administered with 60 or 120 minutes before surgery, depending on the method and type of antibiotic. What is not reported in this indicator is the number of patients who received the antibiotic or the actual number of post-operative infections. At the NHS , fully 95% of all patients receiving hip and knee joint replacement surgery received antibiotics in March and not one patient has been readmitted to hospital with a post-op infection. These stats tell us we need to improve our process for administering antibiotics in a timely way and work has begun on tightening up this protocol.

Prophylactic Antibiotic Use Prior to Total Joint Replacement Surgery:

Surgical Site Infection Prevention Prophylactic Antibiotic Use Prior To Joint Replacement Surgery

All hospitals that perform hip and/or knee joint replacement surgery must publicly report the SSI-Prevention indicator data. These Ontario hospitals are posting their quarterly SSI-Prevention percentages for their facility, using the following formula:

% of Patients with Antibiotic Administration within the Appropriate Time Prior to Surgery = 

# of Hip/Knee joint replacement surgeries who received usual antibiotics within 60 min of


# of Hip/Knee joint replacement surgeries who received vancomycin within 120 min of skin incision

Total number of patients during the reporting period who had a primary knee/hip joint replacement surgical procedure
x 100


Timely Administration of Prophylactic Antibiotic
Prior to Total Joint Replacement Surgery

Surgical Site Infection Prevention Timely Admin of Prophylactic Antibiotic Prior To Joint Replacement Surgery