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CDC Issues New Guidelines To Prevent Surgical Site Infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released long-awaited guidance on preventing surgical site infections.

The new guidance, published in JAMA Surgery, updates recommendations issued in 1999. CDC researchers reviewed more than 5,000 studies published from 1998 to 2014, and found 170 that were eligible for analysis in forming the guidelines.

The new guidelines include these and other recommendations:

  • administer antimicrobial prophylaxis before making an incision during a cesarean delivery;
  • advise patients to take a shower the night before undergoing surgery;
  • avoid the use of topical antimicrobial agents on an incision;
  • avoid the use of plastic adhesive drapes; and
  • use an alcohol-based agent to clean skin before most surgeries.

Each recommendation is categorized based on the quality of available supporting evidence, including:

  • 1A, for strong recommendations with high- to moderate-quality evidence;
  • 1B, for strong recommendations with low-quality evidence;
  • 1C, for strong recommendations that are required by state or federal regulations;
  • II, for weak recommendations supported by only marginal evidence; and
  • no recommendations, for unresolved issues.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Michelle Rosenfeld is manager of communications at America's Essential Hospitals.

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