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Prevention and treatment of surgical site infection (NICE clinical guideline 74)

Published: 01/10/2008

This guideline was produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health (NCC-WCH) on behalf of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Surgical site infection is a type of healthcare-associated infection in which a wound infection occurs after an invasive (surgical) procedure. Other types of healthcare-associated infections that mainly affect surgical patients are postoperative respiratory and urinary tract infections, bacteraemias (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and intravascular cannula infections) and antibiotic-related diarrhoeas (particularly Clostridium difficile enteritis). Surgical site infections have been shown to compose up to 20% of all of healthcare-associated infections. At least 5% of patients undergoing a surgical procedure develop a surgical site infection.