Diabetes linked to higher risk of surgical infection

Mon, 30 Jul 2012
Diabetes and morbid obesity raise the risk of infection in patients who have undergone hip and knee replacement surgery, according to a new study.

Dr. Rondi M. Kauffmann and colleagues from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, found that patients with diabetes were more than twice as likely to develop a post-operative joint infection, independent of obesity. However, the infection rate was even higher in diabetics who were also morbidly obese.

The US researchers examined over 7,000 hip and knee replacements and found that 52 post-operative joint infections occurred within the first year following surgery. In patients with a normal body mass index (BMI), the rate of infection was 0.37 per cent. But this rose to 4.66 per cent for those classed as morbidly obese (those with a BMI of more than 40).

The authors said that identifying and treating obese patients with high blood sugar levels before hip/knee surgery could help prevent infection-related complication. Furthermore, they added that identifying patients with undiagnosed diabetes would be important for their overall long-term prognosis.

The research was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
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