Towards a framework approach to integrating pathways for infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship in surgery: a qualitative study from India and South Africa

Background The surgical pathway remains a hard to reach, critical target for antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) and infection prevention and control (IPC). We investigated the drivers for surgical AMS and IPC, across cardiovascular and thoracic surgery (CVTS) and gastrointestinal surgery teams in two academic hospitals in South Africa (SA) and India. Materials and methods An ethnographic observational study of IPC and AMS was conducted (July 2018–August 2019), with data gathered from 190 hours of non-participant observations (138 India, 60 SA); face-to-face interviews with patients (6 India, 7 South Africa), and healthcare professionals (HCPs) (44 India, 61 SA); and, in-depth patient case studies (4 India, 2 SA). A grounded theory approach aided by Nvivo 11 software, analyzed the emerging themes. An iterative and recursive process of moving between the coded data and the higher-level themes, ensured saturation of the themes. The multiple modes of enquiry enabled cross-validation and triangulation of findings. Results Across surgical pathways, multiple barriers exist impeding effective IPC and AMS practices. The existing, implicit roles of HCPs (including nurses, and senior surgeons) are overlooked as interventions target junior doctors, bypassing the opportunity for integrating care across the surgical team members. Critically, the ownership of decisions remains with the operating surgeons and entrenched hierarchies restrict the integration of other HCPs in IPC and AMS. Conclusions IPC and AMS are not integrated in surgery. Identifying the implicit existing HCPs roles in IPC and AMS is critical and will facilitate the development of effective and transparent processes across the surgical team for IPC and AMS. Developing a framework approach that includes nurse leadership, empowering pharmacists and engaging surgical leads is essential for integrated care.

Antibiotic Use in Low and Middle-Income Countries and the Challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance in Surgery

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a phenomenon resulting from the natural evolution of microbes. Nonetheless, human activities accelerate the pace at which microorganisms develop and spread resistance. AMR is a complex and multidimensional problem, threatening not only human and animal health, but also regional, national, and global security, and the economy. Inappropriate use of antibiotics, and poor infection prevention and control strategies are contributing to the emergence and dissemination of AMR. All healthcare providers play an important role in preventing the occurrence and spread of AMR. The organization of healthcare systems, availability of diagnostic testing and appropriate antibiotics, infection prevention and control practices, along with prescribing practices (such as over-the-counter availability of antibiotics) differs markedly between high-income countries and low and middle-income countries (LMICs). These differences may affect the implementation of antibiotic prescribing practices in these settings. The strategy to reduce the global burden of AMR includes, among other aspects, an in-depth modification of the use of existing and future antibiotics in all aspects of medical practice. The Global Alliance for Infections in Surgery has instituted an interdisciplinary working group including healthcare professionals from different countries with different backgrounds to assess the need for implementing education and increasing awareness about correct antibiotic prescribing practices across the surgical pathways. This article discusses aspects specific to LMICs, where pre-existing factors make surgeons’ compliance with best practices even more important.

Determinants of surgeons’ adherence to preventive intraoperative measures of surgical site infection in Gaza Strip hospitals: a multi-centre cross-sectional study

Surgical site infection (SSI) is one of the most common hospital-acquired infections and is associated with serious impact on the rates of morbidity, mortality as well as healthcare costs. This study examined factors influencing the application of several intraoperative preventive measures of SSI by surgeons and surgical residents in the Gaza Strip.

A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2016 to February 2017 at the operation rooms of the three major hospitals located in the Gaza-Strip, Palestine. Inclusion criteria for patients were being adult (aged ≥18 years), no history of wound infection at time of operation and surgical procedure under general anaesthesia with endotracheal intubation. The association between different patient- and procedure-related SSI risk factors and adherence to several intraoperative SSI preventive measures was tested.

In total, 281 operations were observed. The mean patient age ± standard deviation (SD) was 38.4 ± 14.6 years and the mean duration of surgery ± SD was 58.2 ± 32.1 minutes. A hundred-thirty-two patients (47.0%) were male. Location and time of the operation were found to have significant associations with adherence to all SSI preventive measures except for antibiotic prophylaxis. Type of operation had a significant association with performing all measures except changing surgical instruments. Patient age did not have a statistically significant association with adherence to any measure.

The results suggest that the surgeon could be a major factor that can lead to a better outcome of surgical procedures by reducing postoperative complications of SSI. Operating department professionals would benefit from clinical guidance and continuous training, highlighting the importance of persistent implementation of SSI preventive measures in everyday practice to improve the quality of care provided to surgical patients.

Traffic flow and microbial air contamination in operating rooms at a major teaching hospital in Ghana.

Current literature examining the relationship between door-opening rate, number of people present, and microbial air contamination in the operating room is limited. Studies are especially needed from low- and middle-income countries, where the risk of surgical site infections is high.

To assess microbial air contamination in operating rooms at a Ghanaian teaching hospital and the association with door-openings and number of people present. Moreover, we aimed to document reasons for door-opening.

We conducted active air-sampling using an MAS 100® portable impactor during 124 clean or clean-contaminated elective surgical procedures. The number of people present, door-opening rate and the reasons for each door-opening were recorded by direct observation using pretested structured observation forms.

During surgery, the mean number of colony-forming units (cfu) was 328 cfu/m3 air, and 429 (84%) of 510 samples exceeded a recommended level of 180 cfu/m3. Of 6717 door-openings recorded, 77% were considered unnecessary. Levels of cfu/m3 were strongly correlated with the number of people present (P = 0.001) and with the number of door-openings/h (P = 0.02). In empty operating rooms, the mean cfu count was 39 cfu/m3 after 1 h of uninterrupted ventilation and 52 (51%) of 102 samples exceeded a recommended level of 35 cfu/m3.

The study revealed high values of intraoperative airborne cfu exceeding recommended levels. Minimizing the number of door-openings and people present during surgery could be an effective strategy to reduce microbial air contamination in low- and middle-income settings