Reduction of surgical site infections in pediatric patients with complicated appendicitis: Utilization of antibiotic stewardship principles and quality improvement methodology
Additional Document Info
The rate of surgical site infection (SSI) after appendectomy for complicated appendicitis (CA) was high at our children's hospital. We hypothesized that practice standardization, including obtaining intra-operative cultures of abdominal fluid in patients with CA, would improve outcomes and reduce healthcare utilization after appendectomy.
A quality improvement team designed and implemented a clinical practice guideline for CA that included obtaining intra-operative culture of purulent fluid, administering piperacillin/tazobactam for at least 72 h post-operatively, and transitioning to oral antibiotics based on intraoperative culture data. We compared outcomes before and after guideline implementation.
From July 2018-October 2019, 63 children underwent appendectomy for CA compared to 41 children from January-December 2020. Compliance with our process measures are as follows: Intra-operative culture was obtained in 98% of patients post-implementation; 95% received at least 72 h of piperacillin-tazobactam; and culture results were checked on all patients. Culture results altered the choice of discharge antibiotics in 12 (29%) of patients. All-cause morbidity (SSI, emergency department visit, readmission to hospital, percutaneous drain, unplanned return to operating room) decreased significantly from 35% to 15% (p=0.02). Surgical site infections became less frequent, occurring on average every 27 days pre-implementation and every 60 days after care pathway implementation (p=0.03).
Utilization of a clinical practice guideline was associated with reduced morbidity after appendectomy for CA. Intra-operative fluid culture during appendectomy for CA appears to facilitate the selection of appropriate post-operative antibiotics and, thus, minimize SSIs and overall morbidity.