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For some, surgical site infections are in the genes
Date:2/26/2013

dent and first author, James P. Lee, M.D.

Through the UPDB, a remarkable storehouse of genealogical records, public health data, and records from hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, the researchers combed the records of 651 University of Utah Hospital patients who had suffered SSIs based on an internationally recognized medical code. (The researchers did not learn the names of the patients.) As controls, they used randomly selected U of U Hospital patients with the same birth year, birthplace, and sex as the group that did have infections. Only people with both parents, all four grandparents, and at least six of eight great-grandparents in the UPDB were analyzed in either group.

A test for excess familial relatedness, the Genealogical Index of Familiality (GIF), was performed to determine whether patients with SSIs were more related than expected, as measured by average relatedness in the randomly selected, matched controls. To rule out the possibility of shared environmental influences on predispositions to SSIs, the researchers also performed the analysis while ignoring first- and second-degree relationships (representing individuals who might be living together or in close proximity, such as parents, siblings, and offspring, and thus sharing non-genetic risk factors), according to Cannon-Albright.

The results might be considered surprising, showing that SSIs occurred more frequently than expected among, for example, third cousins and more distant relatives of individuals in the study. "People who'd had an SSI were significantly more related than we would have thought," she says. "The results indicate a strong genetic contribution to SSIs."

Hopf has researched SSIs for much of her career, suspecting that a mutation in a gene that makes superoxide, a compound released as part of the body's inflammatory response to invading pathogens, might cause a predisposition to the infections. The mutation could render this gene, p-47
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Contact: Phil Sahm
phil.sahm@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-2517
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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