SSI Articles


  • CDC/NHSN surveillance definition of health care–associated infection and criteria for specific types of infections in the acute care setting

    What follows are the NHSN criteria for all healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). These criteria include those for the “Big Four” (surgical site infection (SSI), pneumonia (PNEU), bloodstream infection (BSI) and urinary tract infection (UTI)), outlined in earlier chapters of this NHSN manual, as well as criteria for other types of HAIs. Of particular importance, this chapter provides further required criteria for the specific event types that constitute organ/space SSIs (e.g. mediastinitis (MED) following coronary artery bypass graft, intra-abdominal abscess (IAB) following colon surgery, etc.).

    CDC-NHSN survey def



    National Healthcare Safety Network, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Published January 17, 2013
  • Healthcare-associated infections in Pennsylvania - 2011 Report

    The 2011 report on the occurrence and patterns of health care-associated infections (HAIs) is the fourth to be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) since the passage of Act 52 in 2007. The overall findings for 2011 show a continued pattern of steady decline in the incidence of HAIs in Pennsylvania. Declines were also seen in the incidence of each of the three categories of HAIs used by PADOH for hospital benchmarking. These categories are: catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), and selected types of surgical site infections (SSIs). The declining numbers are likely the result of ongoing efforts undertaken by infection preventionists, health care providers and systems, professional societies and governmental agencies to control and prevent HAIs. The impact of these efforts should be improved health status and outcomes of patients cared for in Pennsylvania hospitals, which are the primary motivation for HAI prevention and control, along with reduced health care expenditures.

    pa doh 2011 hai report



    Pennsylvania Department of Health
    August 2012

    Published January 17, 2013
  • IHI - How-to guide: prevent surgical site infections

    Surgical site infections are a frequent cause of morbidity following surgical procedures. Surgical site infections have also been shown to increase mortality, re-admission rates, length of stay, and costs for patients who incur them. While nationally the rate of surgical site infection averages between 2 and 3% for clean cases (class I/clean as defined by CDC), an estimated 40 to 60% of these infections are preventable.

    A review of the medical literature shows that the following care components reduce the incidence of surgical site infection: appropriate use of prophylactic antibiotics; appropriate hair removal, controlled postoperative serum glucose for cardiac surgery patients, and immediate postoperative normothermia for colorectal surgery patients. These components, if implemented reliably, can drastically reduce the incidence of surgical site infection, resulting in the nearly complete elimination of preventable surgical site infection in many cases.




    (2012). "How-to Guide: Prevent Surgical Site Infections." Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Cambridge, MA (Available at

    Published January 16, 2013
  • Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) best practices initiative change package

    This change package is a collection of recommendations for changing processes of surgical care.



    (2009) Healthcare Quality Strategies

    Published January 17, 2013