Surgical site infection after gastrointestinal surgery in children: An international, multicentre, prospective cohort study

GlobalSurg Collaborative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction Surgical site infection (SSI) is one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). However, there is a lack of data available about SSI in children worldwide, especially from low-income and middle-income countries. This study aimed to estimate the incidence of SSI in children and associations between SSI and morbidity across human development settings. Methods A multicentre, international, prospective, validated cohort study of children aged under 16 years undergoing clean-contaminated, contaminated or dirty gastrointestinal surgery. Any hospital in the world providing paediatric surgery was eligible to contribute data between January and July 2016. The primary outcome was the incidence of SSI by 30 days. Relationships between explanatory variables and SSI were examined using multilevel logistic regression. Countries were stratified into high development, middle development and low development groups using the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI). Results Of 1159 children across 181 hospitals in 51 countries, 523 (45·1%) children were from high HDI, 397 (34·2%) from middle HDI and 239 (20·6%) from low HDI countries. The 30-day SSI rate was 6.3% (33/523) in high HDI, 12·8% (51/397) in middle HDI and 24·7% (59/239) in low HDI countries. SSI was associated with higher incidence of 30-day mortality, intervention, organ-space infection and other HAIs, with the highest rates seen in low HDI countries. Median length of stay in patients who had an SSI was longer (7.0 days), compared with 3.0 days in patients who did not have an SSI. Use of laparoscopy was associated with significantly lower SSI rates, even after accounting for HDI. Conclusion The odds of SSI in children is nearly four times greater in low HDI compared with high HDI countries. Policies to reduce SSI should be prioritised as part of the wider global agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere003429
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 3 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


Funding This study is funded by DFID-MRC-Wellcome Trust Joint Global Health Trial Development Grant (MR/N022114/1). A National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Unit Grant (NIHR 17–0799) is supporting the establishment of surgical research units in a subset of contributing low-income countries. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

FundersFunder number
DFID-MRC-Wellcome Trust Joint Global Health Trial DevelopmentMR/N022114/1


    • gastro-enterologic surgery
    • paediatrics


    Dive into the research topics of 'Surgical site infection after gastrointestinal surgery in children: An international, multicentre, prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this