AHA: Most Major Post-Op Infections Occur Post-Discharge

Major infections occur an average of 14.5 days after cardiac surgery, with 51% occurring after discharge; and preoperative skin preparation reduces the incidence of cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) infections, according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in Orlando, Fla.

Michael A. Acker, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated the time of occurrence and risk factors for infections within 60 days of undergoing heart surgery in 5,185 patients without preoperative infections.

A total of 280 of the 733 infections were major; most commonly pneumonia (2.4 percent of all patients), and also including Clostridium difficile colitis, bloodstream infections, deep incision site infection, and mediastinitis. Major infections occurred a median of 14.5 days post-surgery, and 51% of them developed after discharge. Eight percent of patients suffered minor infections, including symptomatic urinary tract infection and superficial incision site infection.

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Sources: HealthDay; American Heart Association