To detect the occurrence of surgical-site infection (SSI) in our study sample, using the traditional variables of the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) index with a locally modified cut-off point for the “T time” defining length of surgical procedure; to compare the modified and the traditional NNIS index under the hypothesis that a cut-off point discriminating procedures of short and long duration, based upon the actual experience of the study sample, can adequately predict the risk of SSI.
A retrospective chart review of 9,322 patients undergoing surgical procedures in the period January 1993 to December 1998.
A small university hospital (UH) in southern Brazil.
The composite index using the local sample procedure-duration cut-off point (UH-index) performed better than any of the individual components of the composite index (anesthesia risk index and surgical-wound class [SWC]). The UH-index also predicted adequately the risk of SSI when compared to the traditional NNIS index, particularly when stratifying by SWC.
A modified NNIS index, using the sample cut-off point, can adequately predict the risk of SSI in a given population. Further studies are needed to compare and validate the NNIS index of risk for populations other than those of the NNIS-participating hospitals. Larger samples using different hospitals with similar characteristics are needed to investigate the risk of SSI associated with specific operations.