Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop surgical site infections (SSIs) while undergoing most types of surgery, a US study finds.
Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a review which involved a meta-analysis of 94 studies between December 1985 and July 2015.
Data collection was used to extract study-specific estimates for diabetes, blood glucose levels and Body Mass Index (BMI). The prevalence of diabetes ranged from two per cent to 39 per cent.
The Michigan team noted in their study, which was published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, that previous research found diabetes patients had an increased risk of SSIs compared to people without diabetes.
In this new analysis, 50 per cent of patients with diabetes were more likely to develop an SSI, with SSIs occurring in roughly four per cent of all surgeries.
This association was stronger for patients with diabetes undergoing cardiac surgery, but multiple procedure types were found to have an elevated risk of SSIs, including arthroplasty, breast, cardiac and spinal surgeries.
The authors noted that the reasons why diabetes patients are more likely to develop SSIs are unclear. “It is possible that diabetes is a marker for other conditions that may put a patient at risk of infection, including vascular changes and white blood cell dysfunction,” they wrote.
“Heightened awareness among healthcare professionals of infection prevention measures is warranted for diabetic patients before and after surgery. We hope this research will lead to better strategies to lower the number of these infections.”

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