A clinical audit to identify factors contributing to surgical wound healing complications
This clinical audit investigated the potential effect of a range of factors on wound healing success in a mixed sample of 285 cats and dogs post ovariohysterectomy in a practice that had noticed healing complications in some patients. Patient records over 18 months from 2008-2009 were included in the study. Factors investigated included skin, muscle and subcutaneous suture material, differences between species and age, the use of an Elizabethan collar, post-operative antibiotics and whether the individual veterinary surgeon performing the surgery affected the incidence of healing complications. Statistical testing included risk-ratio analysis, Chi Square test and Fisher's exact test. The use of catgut in muscle and subcutaneous tissue was found to significantly increase the risk of healing complications (p≤0.001). Dogs appeared significantly more at risk from healing complications than cats (p<0.001). When polyglactin 910 was compared with nylon as a skin suture material to assess the risk of healing complications, the findings were insignificant. The effect of age, the use of Elizabethan collars, the veterinary surgeon and the use of post-operative antibiotics on healing complications were insignificant.
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