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Postdischarge Surveillance After Cesarean Section

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Background:Cesarean section is a major surgical procedure with a relatively short hospital stay. A significant rate of surgical site infection after this procedure is missed by standard inpatient surveillance. This study aimed to evaluate a method of postdischarge surveillance and compare results with the incidence of infection before discharge.Method: A postdischarge survey was sent on day 30 to 277 women who had delivered by cesarean section during the 12-month study period. A follow-up telephone interview was conducted if the questionnaire had not been returned within 2 weeks, if a diagnosis of infection could not be clearly determined from the participant's responses, or to confirm the diagnosis of infection. If follow-up was not completed, a chart audit was undertaken.Results: A total response rate of 89 percent (247/277) was obtained, and 28 women with a surgical site infection were identified from the survey. Telephone follow-up and chart review of patients with possible infection and of nonresponders identified 32 percent more postdischarge infections (14/42). The overall infection rate was 17 percent compared with 2.8 percent at discharge.Conclusions: Postdischarge surveillance is necessary to determine accurate surgical site infection rates after cesarean section, increase awareness of caregivers about infection control problems, and indicate the need for appropriate follow-up care. Women undergoing a cesarean delivery should be informed of the risk of postdischarge infection and educated about the signs and symptoms of infection. (BIRTH 28:4 December 2001)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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