Postdischarge surveillance for infection following cesarean section: A prospective cohort study comparing methodologies

Muhammad A. Halwani, Alison E. Turnbull, Meredith Harris, Frank Witter, Trish M. Perl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective To assess how enhanced postdischarge telephone follow-up calls would improve case finding for surgical site infection (SSI) surveillance after cesarean section. Methods We conducted a prospective cohort study of all patients who delivered by cesarean section between April 22 and August 22, 2010. In addition to our routine surveillance, using clinical databases and electronic patient records, we also made follow-up calls to the patients at 7, 14, and 30 days postoperation. A standard questionnaire with questions about symptoms of SSI, health-seeking behaviors, and treatment received was administered. Descriptive statistics and univariate analysis were performed to assess the effect of the enhanced surveillance. Results One hundred ninety-three patients underwent cesarean section during this study period. Standard surveillance identified 14 infections with telephone follow-ups identifying an additional 5 infections. Using the call as a gold standard, the sensitivity of the standard methodology to capture SSI was 73.3%. The duration of the calls ranged from 1 to 5 minutes and were well received by the patients. Conclusions Results suggest that follow-up telephone calls to patients following cesarean section identifies 26.3% of the total SSIs. Enhanced surveillance can provide more informed data to enhance performance and avoid underestimation of rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-457
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Cesarean section infection
  • Post-discharge surveillance
  • Surgical site infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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