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Noisy operations associated with increased infections after surgery
Date:6/1/2011

Patients who undergo surgery are more likely to suffer surgical site infections (SSIs) if the operating theatre is noisy, according to research published in the July issue of BJS, the British Journal of Surgery.

Swiss researchers studied 35 patients who underwent planned, major abdominal surgery, exploring demographic parameters, the duration of the operation and sound levels in the theatre. Six of the patients (17 per cent) developed SSIs and the only variable was the noise level in the operating theatre, which was considerably higher in the infected patients.

"SSIs lead to patients spending up to 13 days longer in hospital, making their stay cost up to three times as much" says Dr Guido Beldi, staff surgeon and research group leader from the Department of Visceral Surgery and Medicine, Berne University Hospital, Switzerland.

"Having found a significant association between SSIs within 30 days of surgery and increased sound levels in the operating theatre, we can only conclude that noise is associated with a stressful environment or lack of concentration and this impacts on the surgical outcome."

Key findings of the research included:

  • Median sound levels during surgery were significantly higher for the patients who developed SSIs (43.5dB) than for those who did not (25dB).

  • Peak levels of at least 4dB above the median were found in 23 per cent of the SSI patient operations, twice as many as the 11 per cent observed in the other operations.

  • The sound levels appeared to increase in both groups 60 minutes after the first incision. This could be related to increased difficulty with the operation, but talking about non-patient topics was also associated with a significantly higher noise level. The latter finding may suggest a lack of concentration by the entire surgical team, including surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses. However, this interpretation is speculative, as the timin
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Contact: Annette Whibley
annette.wizard@gmail.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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