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Staphylococcus epidermidis as a cause of postoperative wound infection after cardiac surgery: assessment of pathogenicity by a wound-scoring method

British Journal of Surgery 75(2): 168-170

Staphylococcus epidermidis as a cause of postoperative wound infection after cardiac surgery: assessment of pathogenicity by a wound-scoring method

Wound infection after clean surgery prolongs hospital stay but the organism most commonly isolated from wound discharge, Staphylococcus epidermidis, is often dismissed as a contaminant or commensal. The wounds of 517 patients were assessed, after cardiac surgery, by a wound-scoring method ('ASEPSIS') and a close comparison was made of the appearance and clinical outcome of 89 wounds, from which bacteria were isolated. There was no significant difference in the scores of 49 wounds, where S. epidermidis was the sole isolate (9.5 per cent of all wounds, 95 per cent CI 6.9-12.0 per cent), and 13 wounds infected with Staphylococcus aureus (2.5 per cent, 95 per cent CI 1.2-3.9 per cent). Repeat cultures were obtained from 21 of the 49 wounds and, in 16 of these, the second isolate showed the same biochemical reactions and antibiotic resistance pattern as the first. Infection of sternal wounds is commoner with coagulase-negative staphylococci than with S. aureus and, clinically, is just as severe.

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Accession: 041425563

PMID: 3349309

DOI: 10.1002/bjs.1800750228

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