Surgical antibiotic prophylaxis: Are you doing it right?

  • J Jocum University of the Witwatersrand


Surgical site infection (SSI) places an enormous burden of disease on perioperative healthcare services. Its prevalence as a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) is second only to urinary tract infections.1 The consequences in the short term include a protracted hospital stay, significantly increased healthcare costs and a higher mortality rate in certain types of surgery.2 Patients who develop an SSI have a five-fold increase in hospital readmissions, are 60% more likely to be admitted to ICU and are twice as likely to die.3 SSI incidence rates have thus become an important outcome measure of the quality of surgical care.2 Surgical antibiotic prophylaxis (SAP) is one component of broader strategies to prevent SSI. A comprehensive discussion on the prevention of SSI falls beyond the remit of this article which will focus solely on SAP.

Author Biography

J Jocum, University of the Witwatersrand
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital University of the Witwatersrand
FCA Refresher Course