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An audit and trial aiming to reduce the rate of surgical site infections for women having a caesarean section

02 March 2016
4 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 3


Surgical site infection (SSI) following caesarean is a common cause of morbidity. To ensure best practice, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust decided to audit the rate of SSI following caesarean section. The results revealed that women who had the wound covered for a longer time were less likely to develop a wound infection. A trial was undertaken using two different wound dressings. Following the trial, new wound dressings were introduced for all women having a caesarean section, with the dressings remaining in place for 5 days. The Trust aims to re-audit the rate of SSI following caesarean section within 12 months.

Although birth by caesarean section (CS) is a common procedure, there are a number of potential complications, of which one is surgical site infection (SSI) (Gould, 2007; Wloch et al, 2012). Mortality due to severe maternal sepsis has increased in the UK and is now the leading cause of direct maternal death (UK Obstetric Surveillance System, 2015). Health-care practitioners should be aware of the risk of sepsis following birth by CS. Midwives, doctors and other health professionals need to ‘think sepsis’ and aim to reduce the risk of women developing sepsis following CS (MBRRACE-UK, 2014).

The type of wound dressing used following CS, and the length of time that the wound dressing is left in place, may contribute to an increased risk of infection. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust decided to complete an audit to identify the number of women who developed an SSI following birth by CS. The audit would also identify how many of these women required readmission to hospital for treatment for the SSI.

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