Background: Organ/space surgical site infection (SSI) is a significant clinical problem. The postdiagnosis course of organ/space SSIs and the impact of its early diagnosis on clinical outcomes are yet to be clarified. Thus, we aimed to investigate the association between the timing of diagnosis and the clinical outcome of organ/space SSI. Methods: This retrospective, single-center cohort study evaluated patients who underwent elective gastrointestinal or hepatopancreatobiliary surgery between 2016 and 2020. Clinical outcomes were compared between the early group (ie, SSI diagnosed until postoperative day [POD] 4) and normal-late group (ie, SSI diagnosed after POD 5). The primary outcome was the final C-reactive protein (CRP) level within 14 d after organ/space SSI diagnosis. Results: In total, 110 patients were evaluated. The median time of diagnosis was 7 d postoperatively (interquartile range, 5–9 d postoperatively). Compared with the normal-late group, the early group included a higher proportion of patients with Clavien–Dindo grade ≥IIIb (8/21 vs 11/89, P =.01), higher final CRP value within 14 d after SSI diagnosis (mean, 4.49 mg/dL vs 2.27 mg/dL, P =.01), longer postoperative length of hospitalization (median, 45.0 d vs 33.0 d; P =.028), and worse 1-y overall survival rate (74.8% vs 89.3%, P =.08). Conclusion: Early diagnosed organ/space SSI are originally severe and may therefore be detected earlier. Importantly, early diagnosed organ/space SSI is likely to be severe and refractory.
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