A Reevaluation of the Risk of Infection Based on Time to Debridement in Open Fractures

Background: Open fractures are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. The threshold time to debridement that reduces the infection rate is unclear.
Methods: We searched all available databases to identify observational studies and randomized trials related to open fracture care. We then conducted an extensive meta-analysis of the observational studies, using raw and adjusted estimates, to determine if there was an association between the timing of initial debridement and infection.

Results: We identified 84 studies (18,239 patients) for the primary analysis. In unadjusted analyses comparing various “late” time thresholds for debridement versus “early” thresholds, there was an association between timing of debridement and surgical site infection (odds ratio [OR] = 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11 to 1.49, p < 0.001, I2 = 30%, 84 studies, n =18,239). For debridement performed between 12 and 24 hours versus earlier than 12 hours, the OR was higher in tibial fractures (OR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.87, p = 0.05, I2 = 19%, 12 studies, n = 2,065), and even more so in Gustilo type-IIIB tibial fractures (OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.89, p = 0.004, I2 = 23%, 12 studies, n = 1,255). An analysis of Gustilo type-III fractures showed a progressive increase in the risk of infection with time. Critical time thresholds included 12 hours (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.28 to 1.78, p < 0.001, I2 = 0%, 16 studies, n = 3,502) and 24 hours (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.73 to 2.72, p < 0.001, I2 = 0%, 29 studies, n = 5,214). Conclusions: High-grade open fractures demonstrated an increased risk of infection with progressive delay to debridement.

Protocol for a prospective cohort study of open tibia fractures in Malawi with a nested implementation of open fracture guidelines

Background: Road traffic injury (RTI) is the largest cause of death amongst 15–39-year-old people worldwide, and the burden of injuries such as open tibia fractures are rapidly increasing in Malawi. This study aims to investigate disability and economic outcomes of people with open tibia fractures in Malawi and improve these with locally delivered implementation of open fracture guidelines.
Methods: This is a prospective cohort study describing function, quality of life and economic burden of open tibia fractures in Malawi. In total, 160 participants will be recruited across six centres and will be followed-up with face-to-face interviews at six weeks, three months, six months and one year following injury. The primary outcome will be function at one year measured by the short musculoskeletal functional assessment (SMFA) score. Secondary outcomes will include quality of life measured by EuroQol EQ-5D-3L, catastrophic loss of income and implementation outcomes (acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, costs, feasibility, fidelity, penetration, and sustainability) at one year. A nested pilot pre-post implementation study of an interventional bundle for all open fractures will be developed based on other implementation studies from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Regression analysis will be used to model and investigate associations between SMFA score and fracture severity, infection and the pre- and post-training course period.
Outcome: This prospective cohort study will report patient reported outcomes from open tibia fractures in low-resource settings. Subsequent detailed evaluation of both the clinical and implementation components of the study will promote sustainability of improved open fractures management in the study sites and further scale-up of open fracture management guidelines.
Ethics: Ethics approval has been obtained from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and College of Medicine Research and Ethics committee.