Preventing infections following caesarean section

Martin, Elizabeth (2014) Preventing infections following caesarean section. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 22(3), p. 37.

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Surgical site infections following caesarean section are a serious and costly adverse event for Australian hospitals. In the United Kingdom, 9% of women are diagnosed with a surgical site infection following caesarean section either in hospital or post-discharge (Wloch et al 2012, Ward et al 2008). Additional staff time, pharmaceuticals and health supplies, and increased length of stay or readmission to hospital are often required (Henman et al 2012). Part of my PhD investigated the economics of preventing post-caesarean infection. This paper summarises a review of relevant infection prevention strategies.

Administering antibiotic prophylaxis 15 to 60 minutes pre-incision, rather than post cordclamping, is probably the most important infection prevention strategy for caesarean section (Smaill and Gyte2010, Liu et al 2013, Dahlke et al 2013). However the timing of antibiotic administration is reportedly inconsistent in Australian hospitals. Clinicians may be taking advice from the influential, but out-dated RANZCOG and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2011, Mangram et al 1999). A number of other important international clinical guidelines, including Australia's NHMRC guidelines, recommend universal prophylactic antibiotics pre-incision for caesarean section (National Health and Medical Research Council 2010, National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health 2008, Anderson et al 2008, National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health 2011, Bratzler et al 2013, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2011a, Antibiotic Expert Group 2010).

We need to ensure women receive preincision antibiotic prophylaxis, particularly as nurses and midwives play a significant role in managing an infection that may result from sub-optimal practice. It is acknowledged more explicitly now that nurses and midwives can influence prescribing and administration of antibiotics through informal approaches (Edwards et al 2011). Methods such as surgical safety checklists are a more formal way for nurses and midwives to ensure that antibiotics are administered pre-incision (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2011 b).

Nurses and midwives can also be directly responsible for other infection prevention strategies such as instructing women to not remove pubic hair in the month before the expected date of delivery and wound management education (Ng et al 2013). Potentially more costly but effective strategies include using a Chlorhexidine-gluconate (CHG) sponge preoperatively (in addition to the usual operating room skin preparation) and vaginal cleansing with a povidone-iodine solution (Riley et al 2012, Rauk 2010, Haas, Morgan, and Contreras 2013).

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ID Code: 76137
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Infection, Caesarean section, Health services research
ISSN: 2202-7114
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Midwifery (111006)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 12 Sep 2014 03:02
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2014 21:15

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