Postoperative wound infections following open heart cardiac surgery increased markedly after hospital relocation (7 of 77v4 of 320;p = .0007). Of the multiple identified risk factors, significant patient and procedural association included prolonged operative time of infected patients (384 minutes ± 115 SD v 318 ± 67,p = .025) and operation in a room used within the previous 48 hours for a contaminated case (4/7 infected v 10/67 not infected; p = .023). Several defects were discovered in the air handling system. After appropriate changes, the infection rate decreased in the next 12 months (1 of 109; p < .02). Other concurrent surgical wound infection rates remained unchanged suggesting that defective air handling may have impacted only on the open heart cardiac surgery patients. Preceding contaminated surgery and prolonged operative time were associated with postoperative wound infections in cardiac surgery.
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