Postoperative infections following colorectal surgery in an English teaching hospital

A retrospective case note review of postoperative infections within 30 days of colorectal surgery was completed. Surgical site infections (SSIs) were identified in 22% of patients (84/378), with other infections, e.g. urinary tract infections, identified in 18.3% of patients. SSIs, urinary and respiratory tract infections were all associated with increased durations of hospital admission compared with non-infected patients. Consideration should be given to postoperative surveillance for all infections, using antibiotic consumption as an objective outcome measure. Nine percent of patients developed an organ space SSI. Organ space SSIs were associated with the longest additional duration of hospital admission (15.5 days) and were the only infection associated with an increase in mortality at 1 year; 37% (13/35) mortality with an organ space SSI vs 4% (8/225) without an infection (odds ratio = 16, 95% confidence interval = 6, 43). Further research to prevent and treat organ space SSIs should be prioritized.