Evaluation of a client questionnaire at diagnosing surgical site infections in an active surveillance system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objective: To report sensitivity, specificity, predictive values and accuracy of a client questionnaire at diagnosing surgical site infections (SSIs) and describe the impact of active surveillance on SSI detection.
Study design: Prospective, cohort study.
Animals: Dogs and cats undergoing soft tissue or orthopedic surgery over a 12-month period at a referral hospital.
Methods: Clients were emailed a questionnaire 30 days post-operatively, or 90 days where an implant was used. Three algorithms were developed to diagnose SSIs using one or both of two criteria: 1)presence of any wound healing problems; 2)wound dehiscence or antibiotic prescription, and either purulent discharge or two or more clinical signs (redness, pain, heat, swelling, discharge). Algorithmic diagnoses were compared to gold standard diagnoses made by veterinarians.
Results: Of 754 surgical procedures, 309 responses were completed with 173
corresponding gold standard diagnoses. The most accurate algorithm determined “SSI” or “No SSI” from 90.2% of responses with 95.5%(92.4-98.6) accuracy, 82.6%(77-88.3) sensitivity, 97.7%(95.5-100) specificity, 86.4%(81.2-91.5) positive predictive value, and 97%(94.5-99.6) negative predictive value. “No SSI” was diagnosed in responses not meeting criterion 1, and “SSI” in responses meeting criteria 1 and 2. “Inconclusive” responses, comprising 9.8% of responses, met criterion 1 but not 2. Overall SSI rate was 62/754(8.2%) and 12/62(19.4%) SSIs were detected by active surveillance only.
Conclusions: Use of this client questionnaire accurately diagnosed SSIs; active
surveillance increased SSI detection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Early online date19 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Surgery
  • infection control
  • prospective
  • algorithm
  • wound infection
  • small animal
  • implant


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of a client questionnaire at diagnosing surgical site infections in an active surveillance system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this