SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
CHUNDER, A et al. A randomised controlled trial of suture materials used for caesarean section skin closure: Do wound infection rates differ?. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.6, pp. 374-383. ISSN 2078-5135.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine wound complication rates following the use of suture materials and staples for skin closure at caesarean section (CS). STUDY DESIGN: A randomised, controlled, prospective study was undertaken. RESULTS: A total of 1 100 women was assigned randomly into 3 groups: polyglycolic acid (PGA) suture group (N=361), skin staple (SS) group (N=373) and nylon suture group (N=366). The overall wound infection rate was 7%. There was no difference in respect of number of patients, age, parity and gestation between the study groups. Those who had nylon sutures as opposed to PGA sutures were 9.5 times more likely to experience wound infection (p=0.055). Women who had SS were at 6.93 times higher risk of wound infection than those who had PGA sutures (p=0.014). Other factors influencing wound infection rates included: rupture of membranes >12 hours were 13.7 times (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.9 - 47.9, p<0.0001) more likely to have wound infection than those with rupture of membranes <12 hours. For every 1-minute increase of surgery duration, the risk of infection increased 1.094 times (95% CI 1.046 - 1.145; p<0.0001). HIV-infected women were 53.4% less likely to develop wound infection than their uninfected counterparts (odds ratio 0.466, 95% CI 0.238 - 0.913; p=0.026). As the time period of observation increased from baseline to day 3 and from day 3 to day 10, wound infection risk increased by 35 times (95% CI 8.155 - 150.868; p<0.001). CONCLUSION: The use of SS for CS wound closure is associated with a significantly greater risk of wound infections. SS for wound closure at CS is not recommended for use in South African district hospitals.