OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the superficial surgical site infection (SSI) rate to 28 days and patient satisfaction with wound coverage management when their transverse suprapubic caesarean wound is left exposed compared with dressed after skin closure.
DESIGN: Randomised trial.
SETTING: University Hospital, Malaysia: April 2016-October 2016.
POPULATION: 331 women delivered by caesarean section.
METHOD: Participants were randomised to leaving their wound entirely exposed (n = 165) or dressed (n = 166) with a low adhesive dressing (next day removal).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcomes were superficial SSI rate (assessed by provider inspection up to hospital discharge and telephone questionnaires on days 14 and 28) and patient satisfaction with wound coverage management before hospital discharge.
RESULTS: The superficial SSI rates were 2/153 (1.3%) versus 5/157 (3.2%) (relative risk [RR] 0.4, 95% CI 0.1-2.1; P = 0.45) and patient satisfaction with wound management was 7 [5-8] versus 7 [5-8] (P = 0.81) in exposed compared with dressed study groups, respectively. In the wound-exposed patients, stated preference for wound exposure significantly increased from 35.5 to 57.5%, whereas in the wound-dressed patients, the stated preference for a dressed wound fell from 48.5 to 34.4% when assessed at recruitment (pre-randomisation) to day 28. There were no significant differences in inpatient additional dressing or gauze use for wound care, post-hospital discharge self-reported wound issues of infection, antibiotics, redness and inflammation, swollen, painful, and fluid leakage to day 28 across trial groups.
CONCLUSION: The trial is underpowered as SSI rates were lower than expected. Nevertheless, leaving caesarean wounds exposed does not appear to have detrimental effects, provided patient counselling to manage expectations is undertaken.
TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: An exposed compared with a dressed caesarean wound has a similar superficial surgical site infection rate, patient satisfaction and appearance.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.