Resistant strains of bacteria can lead to fatal infections
After surgery, there can be serious health problems if infections occur at the wound site. The recovery time is significantly longer and sometimes such an infection can even lead to patient death. Researchers found that more and more infections after surgery are due to drug-resistant bacteria.
In their joint investigation, scientists from the universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh and Warwick found that strains of bacteria resistant to drugs lead to an increasing number of infections after surgical interventions. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Lancet Infectious Diseases".
There are more resistant bacteria in low-income countries
In their study, physicians found that patients in lower-income countries are more likely to develop an infection after surgery compared to patients in more affluent countries. This seems to be due to so-called drug-resistant bacteria, which are more common in countries with lower incomes. In countries with lower incomes, there is often an increased use of antibiotics, which means that more people resistant bacteria are infected, the researchers say.
Surgical wound infections can be fatal
The results highlight a link between the use of antibiotics and emerging infections and underline the need to fight surgical infections in low-income countries. Infection at the site of a surgical wound is a dangerous complication that can increase patient recovery times and can be fatal. So far, the extent of this problem in low-income countries was still unknown, the authors explain.
Data from more than 12,000 patients were analyzed for the study
To address this problem, the researchers examined hospital records from 66 low, middle, and high income countries. These files contained data from more than 12,000 patients who had undergone digestive surgery.
Results showed a 60 percent increased risk
The results of the study show that patients in low-income countries had a 60 percent higher chance of infection in the weeks after surgery compared to people from high- and middle-income countries. If patients developed a wound infection, they were at an increased risk of dying, even if the infection was not always the cause of death. Infected patients also had to stay in the hospital three times longer, the doctors say.
Excessive use of antibiotics leads to big problems
Drug-resistant bacteria do not respond to antibiotics, making infections very difficult to treat. Their proliferation is due to overuse of antibiotics and is an urgent global health care challenge, experts say. "Countries with a low human development index carry a disproportionately high burden of surgical infections compared to countries with a medium or high human development index," said Professor Dion Morton of the University of Birmingham in a press release.
More research is needed
Given the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) on measures to prevent infections at surgical sites, further studies are required to evaluate measures to reduce this avoidable complication. "Our study shows that low-income countries have an excessively high infection-related burden from surgery," explains Dr. Ewen Harrison from Edinburgh University. The expert adds: “We also identified a possible link between these infections and antibiotic resistance. This is an important health problem worldwide, and the connection should be investigated further. ”(As)