Association of Surgeon With Surgical Site Infection After Liver Transplantation


Walter C. Hellinger,


Surgical site infection (SSI) after liver transplantation has been associated with increased risk of allograft loss and death. Identification of modifiable risk factors for these infections is imperative. To our knowledge, intraoperative practices associated with transplant surgeons have not been assessed as a risk factor. A retrospective cohort study of risk factors for SSI after 1036 first liver transplantations completed by seven surgeons at a single center between 2003 and 2008 was undertaken. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association between surgeons and SSIs. SSIs were identified in 166 of 1036 patients (16%). Single variable analysis showed strong evidence of an association between surgeon and SSI (p = 0.0007); the estimated cumulative incidence of SSI ranged from 7% to 24%. This result was consistent in multivariable analysis adjusting for potentially confounding variables (p = 0.002). The occurrence of organ-space or deep SSI varied significantly among surgeons in both single variable analysis (p = 0.005) and multivariable analysis (p = 0.006). These findings provide evidence that differences in the surgical practices of individual surgeons are associated with risk for SSI after liver transplantation. Identification of specific surgical practices associated with risk of SSI is warranted.