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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


OLIVEIRA, Adriana Cristina et al. Comparative study of surgical wound infection diagnosed in-hospital and post discharge. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.36, n.6, pp.717-722. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: Surgical wound infection (SWI) is a serious hospital infection due to its incidence, morbidity and mortality. Because of the short hospital stay, the majority of SWI appears post-discharge, and its incidence is often underreported when there is no follow-up of the surgical patient post discharge. The need of a surveillance system for surgical patient after discharge is critical for infection control. The study objective was to determine the incidence of SWI in surgical patients and to compare the frequency of SWI diagnosed in-hospital and after discharge. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was carried out in a university hospital. Patients admitted to the general surgery unit (504) and underwent digestive tract surgery in the first semester of the year 2000 were followed up during their hospital stay and after discharge. RESULTS: Of 504 surgical patients, 398 (79.0%) returned to follow up in the post discharge outpatient clinic. Of the total surgical wound infections diagnosed, most (62.9%) was detected in the post discharge outpatient clinic, and 88% of SWI diagnosed were classified as superficial, and 67% reported up to day 7 after discharge. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed the importance of following up surgical patients after discharge to achieve reliable incidence data on surgical wound infection because of the late occurrence of infection in the majority of cases, which results in underreporting when the patient is followed up only during the hospital stay.

Keywords : Cross infection [epidemiology]; Digestive system surgical procedures; Follow-up studies; Ambulatoryc care; Inpatients; Patient discharge; Surgical wound infection; Post discharge control.

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