Higher Surgery and Recovery Room Air Pressures Associated with Reduced Surgical Site Infection Risk

Byron L. Crape, Arnur Gusmanov, Binur Orazumbekova, Karapet Davtyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Incisional surgical site infections (SSIs) following coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) prolong hospital stays, elevate healthcare costs and increase likelihood of further complications. High air pressure deactivates bacteria and is utilized for commercial food preservation, assuring microbiologically safe pharmaceuticals and sanitizing instruments. However, research on utilizing air pressure deactivation thresholds in surgical and postoperative rooms to reduce rates of SSIs is lacking. Methods: A case–control study of 801 CABG patients, 128 SSI cases and 673 controls was conducted from January 1, 2006 through March 31, 2009 in Yerevan, Armenia. Patient and surgery characteristics, air pressure measurements and seasons were selected as independent variables with SSI rates as the outcome. The novel threshold regression analysis was used to determine potential air pressure bacterial deactivation thresholds. A final multivariate logistic regression model adjusted for confounders. Results: Overall, bacterial deactivation air pressure threshold was 694.2 mmHg, with the presence of infection for higher air pressure values not statistically significant from zero. Individual deactivation thresholds for Staphylococcus epidermidis (threshold = 694.2 mmHg) and Escherichia coli (threshold = 689.2) showed similar patterns. Multivariate logistic regression showed air pressure above the deactivation threshold was highly protective against SSIs with adjOR = 0.27 (p-value = 0.009, 95%CI: 0.10–0.72). Other SSI risk factors included female sex, adjOR = 2.12 (p-value = 0.006, 95%CI: 1.24–3.62), diabetes, adjOR = 2.61 (p-value < 0.001, 95%CI: 1.72–3.96) and longer time on ventilator, adjOdds = 1.01 (p-value = 0.012, 95%CI: 1.00–1.02). Conclusion: Maintaining air pressures in operating and postoperative rooms exceeding bacterial-deactivation thresholds might substantially reduce SSI rates following surgery. Further research should identify specific bacterial-deactivation air pressure thresholds in surgical and postoperative rooms to reduce SSI rates, especially for drug-resistant bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1095
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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