Hospital for Special Surgery Has SSI Rate for Hip Replacement Lower Than NY State Average

For the second consecutive year, the Hospital for Special Surgery is the only hospital in New York state with an infection rate that is significantly lower than the state average for hip replacement or revision surgeries, according to the 2009 report on hospital infection rates released today by the New York State Department of Health.

"At Hospital for Special Surgery, we perform more joint replacement surgery than any other hospital in the country, and infection prevention is a critical component of our best practices," says surgeon-in-chief Thomas P. Sculco, MD. "We are vigilant about infection prevention at every level, from washing hands to maintaining a clean environment for our patients in the operating room and the entire hospital."

Surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery performed 15 percent of the nearly 26,000 hip replacement or revision procedures in New York State in 2009. Special Surgery was the only hospital of the 169 hospitals included in the report that had a statistically lower surgical site infection rate than the state average of 1.1 percent for that particular procedure. Hospitals that performed the highest number of hip replacement procedures had the lowest infection rates, according to the report.

"When patients select a hospital, a low infection rate should be one of the items at the top of their list," says Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO. "At Hospital for Special Surgery, we believe that infection prevention is everyones responsibility. Success can only be achieved with contributions from our entire staff, from surgeons and nurses to technicians and housekeepers.

Numerous best practices contribute to the low infection rate for hip replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery. All joint replacement procedures are performed quickly, in an average of one to two hours, and with regional anesthesia to reduce bleeding. The operating room teams remain consistent to speed surgical time, and an infection prevention specialist is dedicated to the operating room. During surgery, patients have minimal exposure to contaminants because they are isolated from the environment by a Plexiglas enclosure. After surgery, the operating rooms and instruments are meticulously cleaned, and the infection control department ensures that heightened standards are maintained.

New York States strict regulatory and surveillance systems require hospitals to report certain hospital-acquired infections to the State Department of Health. Todays publication is the third annual report of hospital-acquired infections in New York State, but the second annual report to include hip replacement procedures. The report states that the data are made publically available each year to give people information about hospital performance that could help them make informed medical decisions.

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