Surgical site infections affect approximately 500,000 persons per year according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Numerous factors such as age and general health status of persons undergoing surgery can affect rates of infection at any given hospital. To prevent surgical infection, appropriate antibiotics should, as a general rule, be given within one hour prior to surgery and discontinued within 24 hours of surgery. One of the National Patient Safety Goals from the Joint Commission is prevention of health care associated infection.
The Medicare Quality Improvement Community (MedQIC), a national knowledge forum for healthcare and quality improvement professionals, encourages careful selection and use of antibiotics for surgical procedures. The benefits of selective peri-operative antibiotic use have been repeatedly demonstrated since the 1960’s (Archives of Surgery. February 2005;140(2): 174-182).