Marja BoermeesterProfessor of Surgery, Marja Boermeester, specialises in surgery of abdominal infections, in particular long-term complications such as intestinal failure, complex abdominal wall defects or other diseases post-surgery. She is President of the Surgical Infections Society Europe (SIS-E), which collaborates with ESCP often, and is on the World Health Organisation (WHO) steering committee for guidelines for the prevention of surgical site infections.

At the ESCP Annual Meeting in Nice this year, Prof Boermeester will present ‘Strategies to reduce superficial surgical site infection’.

“It is a dynamic topic and one that is important for any form of surgery,” explains Boermeester.

During her keynote session, Boermeester will highlight a couple of key recommendations put forward in recent WHO guidelines, such as recommendations on surgical site handling, and those on hyperoxygenation and normoglycemia.

“In 2016, WHO guidelines were launched which have been started to be implemented in hospitals and practices throughout last year. Highlighting these in Nice will help people understand the effect of each of these interventions to prevent surgical site infections as well as the pros and cons of them. This is important because the recommendations can lead to major changes, but only if the innovation is embraced,” says Prof Boermeester.

She goes on to explain why the WHO guidelines are particularly important and hopes her keynote speech will highlight the recommendations they provide. She says:

“I was involved in the process of developing the guidelines. They are clean, simple and, crucially, based on rigorous assessment of published data, and backed up by solid clinical reasoning.”

Another important aspect is preventing any disregard of some of the recommendations.

“They are all valid. They’re evidence-based and part of the challenge is to reduce the doubts some people have,” Boermeester underlines.

Despite technological advances and improved understanding, the rate of surgical site infection has not dropped in the past ten years. A key element, therefore, of Prof Boermeester’s address will emphasise the need to reduce infection rates.

It is a concern to her and something she is keen to address:

“Despite lots of positive innovations and guidelines produced, it is disheartening to see that actually the infection rates are not dropping. There are definitely some simple ways to reduce the high site infection rate.”

Surgical infection rates has an impact on hospitals beyond the patient’s wellbeing. Boermeester comments:

“A post-surgical infection means an increased length of stay, meaning beds are blocked. Improving the infection rate could help reduce hospital costs significantly.”

Boermeester concludes by saying that she hopes the audience leaves with three or four key messages that will stick in their minds to take away and help them change their own practice. She encourages delegates to attend:

“It really is a session for everyone! There isn’t a group I can think of where the lessons won’t be applicable, and some of the messaging could have a really positive impact.”

Book your place at the 13th Scientific and Annual meeting of ESCP in Nice here

Keynote: Strategies to reduce superficial surgical site infection – 12:30, Friday 28 September 2018


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