Improvement of surgical wound classification following a targeted training program at a children's hospital

Marilyn W. Butler, Sandy Zarosinski, Dagmar Rockstroh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Inaccurate assignment of surgical wound class (SWC) remains a challenge in perioperative documentation. The purpose of our intervention was to increase the accuracy of SWC through a targeted training program directed toward pediatric surgeons and nurses. Methods: A retrospective electronic medical record (EMR) chart review of 400 operations was performed according to NSQIP criteria during specified periods in 2014 and 2017, assessing SWC errors before and after a training program and posting of reference materials in operating rooms at a 165-bed children's hospital. After each operation, nurses confirmed SWC with the surgeon before recording the value in the EMR. Differences in proportions of misclassified SWC were evaluated with a chi-square test. Results: Following the educational program, misclassified SWC improved from 70/200 (35.0%) to 18/200 (9.0%), p < 0.001. Misclassified SWC for appendectomies improved from 46/95 (48.4%) to 12/108 (11.1%), p < 0.001. Conclusions: Accurate SWC assignment in the EMR was improved by an educational program and posting of materials to aid assignment, as well as enhanced communication between surgeons and nurses at the conclusion of each operation. We present the first known attempt to list all pediatric surgery procedures according to SWC. Accurate SWC allows stratification of risks and more effective targeted interventions. Level of evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2378-2382
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Pediatric
  • Surgical site infection
  • Wound classification
  • Wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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