Negative pressure wound therapy reduces surgical site infections

Ehsan Benrashid, Linda M. Youngwirth, Kimberly Guest, Mitchell W. Cox, Cynthia K. Shortell, Ellen D. Dillavou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Surgical site infection (SSI) with lower extremity incisions represents a modifiable source of major morbidity. Our institutional bundled care protocol to decrease SSI includes optimization of perioperative risk factors, dedicated wound closure tray, and voluntary use of a closed surface negative pressure wound therapy (cNPWT) device applied over closed incisions in the operating room. This study examined the individual effect of cNPWT on SSI reduction and other perioperative outcomes. Methods: All patients with lower extremity or infrainguinal incisions between January 2016 and December 2017 were prospectively identified and tracked for infectious complications. All patients were treated with the same perioperative care bundle to reduce SSI. cNPWT was applied over closed incisions at the discretion of the surgeon. The 90-day outcomes regarding SSI, return to operating room, death, and readmission were tracked. Univariate and multivariate analysis using binary logistic regression for factors associated with SSI was performed for patients with and without cNPWT devices, with P <.05 determined to be significant. Results: There were 504 patients included, 225 with cNPWT and 279 with standard dressings. Between the groups, there were no major differences in mean age, mean body mass index, perioperative transfusions, use of prosthetic, reoperative field, dialysis status, and presence of diabetes. There were significantly more women (39.6% vs 27.2% female; P <.01) and active smokers (47.1% vs 30.2%; P <.01) in the cNPWT group along with increased mean operative times (238.3 vs 189.0 minutes; P <.01). Univariate analysis revealed significantly fewer SSIs with cNPWT (9.8% vs 19.0% in standard dressings; P <.01) along with decreased perioperative mortality (5.8% vs 11.2%; P =.04). There were no differences in return to operating room (27.6% cNPWT vs 27.7% standard; P =.97) or readmissions (29.8% cNPWT vs 26.5%; P =.43), but more returns to the operating room were for wound-related problems in the standard dressings group (48.3% vs 26.2%; P <.01). Binary logistic regression using an SSI end point demonstrated that female sex increases SSI (odds ratio, 2.43; confidence interval, 1.37-4.30; P <.01), whereas cNPWT reduces SSI (odds ratio, 0.32; confidence interval, 0.17-0.63; P <.01). Conclusions: The use of negative pressure wound therapy devices decreases the incidence of infrainguinal wound infections. This occurs as an independent factor as part of a patient care bundle targeting modifiable variables in perioperative care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-904
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Perioperative care
  • Surgical site infection
  • Wound closure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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