Heart Institute

Lower Infection Rates at the Heart Institute

Preventing infections that a patient might get while in the hospital is one of the most important safety measures we take to protect your child.

Our cardiothoracic wound infection rate from 2010 to 2013

What is a cardiothoracic wound infection?

A cardiothoracic wound infection is an infection that can occur if germs (bacteria) get into the surgical wound. Cardiothoracic operations can be prone to infection, which can cause problems in a patient's recovery if not prevented.

Why do we measure this rate of infection?

A patient who gets this type of wound infection might not heal as quickly after heart surgery and may have a longer hospital stay, which is why we monitor and work so carefully to prevent it.

The graph below answers the question: How often did patients who had a cardiothoracic surgery get a surgical site infection as the result of a surgery?

2013 Surgical Site Infections


Our performance has improved from 2010 to 2013

Children's Hospital Colorado measures our Surgical Site Infection rate as the number of infections per 100 surgical cases. This is the measurement style endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We compare our Surgical Site Infection rate to the National Health and Safety Network (NHSN), a branch of the CDC, benchmark. 

Children's Colorado's Cardiothoracic Wound Infection Rate in 2010 was 3.15 per 100 procedures. Since that time, we have decreased our rate to 1.87 wound infections per 100 procedures during 2013. It is our goal to keep every patient safe and healthy during their recovery.

In late 2012, shortly after relocating the cardiac operating rooms to a new building, we identified an increase in surgical site infections among cardiac patients. A number of changes were implemented after assessment of any environmental factors (water, air, etc.) that could be contributing to the infection rate spike. Additionally, we coordinated work between the operative and post-operative teams including cardiac anesthesiologists, surgeons and peri-operative staff to ensure that the SSI bundle was reliably implemented. As a result of this work, adherence to the SSI bundle for cardiac patients was 99.5% during 2013. We also saw a steady decline in the rate of infections from 3.44/100 procedures in quarter 1 to 2.68 in quarter 2, 1.62 in quarter 3 and zero in quarter 4.

How you can help

Something you can do to help us reduce infection is to ask your healthcare provider if his/her hands are clean if you have not observed them practicing hand hygiene before examining your child. We welcome the reminder from any member of your child's care team, especially you. Also, be sure to ask your doctor, nurse or other provider about our ongoing efforts to provide the best care possible and to reduce these types of infections

About this data

What is the source of this data?

This data is collected by the Department of Epidemiology at Children's Hospital Colorado using information provided to them by the Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery teams.

Do we have a national benchmark?

Yes. Children's Colorado uses the NHSN benchmark as endorsed by the CDC.

How often should the data be updated?

We continually track our infection rates and will publicly report these data on this website.

Read how we've been able to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections.