(HealthDay News) — For patients at low surgical risk undergoing ambulatory surgery, the rates of postsurgical visits for clinically significant surgical site infections (CS-SSIs) are low relative to all-cause postsurgical visits, according to research published in the February 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Pamela L. Owens, PhD, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of data from the 2010 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Ambulatory Surgery and State Inpatient Databases for eight states. The authors sought to assess the incidence of CS-SSI following low- to moderate-risk ambulatory surgery. Data were reviewed for 284,098 ambulatory surgical procedures performed in adult patients with low surgical risk.

The researchers found that postsurgical acute care visits for CS-SSIs occurred in 3.09 and 4.84 per 1,000 ambulatory surgical procedures at 14 and 30 days, respectively. Most visits (63.7%) for CS-SSIs occurred within 14 days of the surgery, with treatment for these primarily in the inpatient setting (93.2%). Following ambulatory surgery, all-cause inpatient or outpatient postsurgical visits, including those for CS-SSIs, occurred in 19.99 and 33.62 per 1,000 ambulatory surgical procedures at 14 days and 30 days, respectively.

“Among patients in eight states undergoing ambulatory surgery, rates of postsurgical visits for CS-SSIs were low relative to all causes; however, they may represent a substantial number of adverse outcomes in aggregate,” the authors write. “Thus, these serious infections merit quality improvement efforts to minimize their occurrence.”

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