Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Meyer, Kim

Committee Member

Nash, Whitney

Author's Keywords

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI); surgical site infection (SSI); post-operation infection; neurostimulator; epidural spinal cord stimulation; epidural stimulation complications


Background: Spinal surgical site infection (SSI) is the third most common complication after spinal surgery. Complications of surgical site infection can increase hospital length of stay, associated health care costs, mortality, and produce unfavorable surgical outcomes (Janssen et al., 2019). The need to decrease the incidence of surgical site infections (SSis) is a primary concern for the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC) organization. To decrease the risk of infection with epidural spinal cord implantation, a pre-operative quality improvement plan was implemented for KSCIRC to follow.

Setting: The project took place at the University of Louisville's Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center inside Frazier Rehabilitation Hospital. KSCIRC serves the spinal cord injury community by providing scientific and clinical research.

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the efficacy of pre-operative protocol in decreasing the risk of post-surgical infection or complications of epidural implantation in spinal cord injury participants,

Procedures: KSCIRC medical core (clinical research nurses) ordered pre-surgery labs and tests as directed by the study physician. Results of tests were reviewed by the study physician and study neurosurgeon with the clinical research nurse for surgical clearance. The clinical research nurse completed the protections against infection checklist as recommended by Infection Prevention and Control Department.

Measures: Outcomes measured in this project were surgical infections, non-infectious complications, return to the operating room, and complications within 30 days of operation/hospitalization or 90 days of implantation.

Included in

Nursing Commons