Reliability and validity of using telephone calls for post-discharge surveillance of surgical site infection following caesarean section at a tertiary hospital in Tanzania

Boniface Nguhuni, Pasquale De Nardo, Elisa Gentilotti, Zainab Chaula, Caroline Damian, Paola Mencarini, Emanuele Nicastri, Arnold Fulment, Alessandro Piscini, Francesco Vairo, Alexander M. Aiken, Giuseppe Ippolito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Surgical site infection (SSI) is a common post-operative complication causing significant morbidity and mortality. Many SSI occur after discharge from hospital. Post-discharge SSI surveillance in low and middle income countries needs to be improved. Methodology: We conducted an observational cohort study in Dodoma, Tanzania to examine the sensitivity and specificity of telephone calls to detect SSI after discharge from hospital in comparison to a gold standard of clinician review. Women undergoing caesarean section were enrolled and followed up for 30 days. Women providing a telephone number were interviewed using a structured questionnaire at approximately days 5, 12 and 28 post-surgery. Women were then invited for out-patient review by a clinician blinded to the findings of telephone interview. Results: A total of 374 women were enrolled and an overall SSI rate of 12% (n = 45) was observed. Three hundred and sixteen (84%) women provided a telephone number, of which 202 had at least one telephone interview followed by a clinical review within 48 h, generating a total of 484 paired observations. From the clinical reviews, 25 SSI were diagnosed, of which telephone interview had correctly identified 18 infections; telephone calls did not incorrectly identify SSI in any patients. The overall sensitivity and specificity of telephone interviews as compared to clinician evaluation was 72 and 100%, respectively. Conclusion: The use of telephone interview as a diagnostic tool for post-discharge surveillance of SSI had moderate sensitivity and high specificity in Tanzania. Telephone-based detection may be a useful method for SSI surveillance in low-income settings with high penetration of mobile telephones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 8 2017

Keywords

  • Caesarean section
  • Phone call interview
  • Post-discharge surveillance
  • Resource limited settings
  • Surgical site infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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