Background Vascular groin wounds have higher than expected surgical site infection (SSI) rates and some patients are at enhanced risk. The Wiseman et al. paper suggests an objective scoring system that identifies patients at enhanced risk of postdischarge SSI. We hypothesize that prophylactic groin wound vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) therapy in enhanced risk patients will decrease SSI and readmission and the Wiseman model provides potential evidence that enhanced risk patients can be objectively identified. Methods A single institution, retrospective analysis was conducted from January 2013 to September 2016 utilizing procedure codes to identify patients with wound VACs placed in the operating room. Two distinct groups were identified. The first was a wound complication patient group with 15 limbs (13 patients) with a groin wound VAC placed within 45 days postoperatively for groin wound complications. Eleven of these limbs had the VAC placed at readmission. The second group was a prophylactic patient group that included 8 limbs (7 patients) who received a VAC prophylactically placed in the enhanced risk wounds. These wounds were determined to be enhanced risk based on clinical criteria judged by the operating surgeon such as a large overhanging panniculus and/or one of several ongoing medical issues. We calculated a Wiseman score for all patients, determined total cost of the readmissions, and determined 30-day postsurgical SSI incidence for the prophylactic VAC group. Results Per the Wiseman scores, 9 limbs with postoperative complications were high risk and 3 limbs were moderate/high risk. Eleven limbs had a VAC placed at readmission with an average readmission cost of $8876.77. For the prophylactic group, 8 limbs were high risk with no observed postdischarge SSI in the first 30 days from surgery. The Wiseman scores showed close correlation between the retrospective high and moderate/high risk groups versus the prophylactic VAC group (31.5 ± 7.3 vs. 32 ± 5.5, P = 0.87). Conclusions The Wiseman scores showed objective validation in the prognosis of anticipating groin wound breakdown. Our initial results suggest that prophylactic groin wound VAC placement for enhanced risk vascular surgery patients may proactively decrease wound morbidity, decrease readmission secondary to groin wound complications, and provide some cost benefit.
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