- General Surgery and Urology
- PURPOSE: Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) carriage may confer a significant risk of surgical site infection (SSI) and is common amongst the UK population. Screening for MSSA is not routinely offered to patients in the UK. Primary aim was to review the impact of introducing a MSSA screening programme, in addition to established Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening, on the incidence of SSIs following lumbar spine surgery. METHODS: A consecutive group of 1307 patients during 12 months before (phase 1: n = 716) and after (phase 2: n = 591) introduction of the MSSA screening programme were compared. Analysis was restricted to those with inpatient stay greater than 4 days, readmission within 6 weeks and a rising CRP 7 or more days following the procedure. Diagnosis of SSI was based around the CDC guidelines for wound surveillance. Patients were excluded where the primary surgery was to treat infection, or the procedure was percutaneous. Chi-squared test was used to compare the two groups. RESULTS: Seven hundred and sixteen patients were in phase 1. Rate of infection was 2.65%. Rate of MRSA colonisation was 0%. Five hundred and ninety-one patients were in phase 2. Rate of infection was 1.02%. Rate of MRSA colonisation was 0%, and rate of MSSA colonisation was 26%. Reduction in incidence of SSIs was 62% (p = 0.0409). CONCLUSION: MSSA colonisation is common, although wound infection following lumbar spinal surgery remains a rare event. A screening programme for MSSA can significantly reduce incidence of SSIs in this patient group. These findings may be applicable to wider elective orthopaedic practice. These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.