Infections are frequent complications after liver transplantation. The impact of surgical site infections on patient outcome remains unclear. The aim of our retrospective study is to analyze the incidence and predictors of surgical site infections after liver transplant at our program and to determine their impact on patient outcome. Twenty-four (9.5%) surgical site infections were recorded among 252 liver transplants performed between January 2011 and December 2013. Among perioperative variables, re-transplantation was the only significant risk factor on univariate analysis (P = 0.015, CI 1.448-29.259), whereas age, gender, ethnicity, MELD score, donor type and cold ischemia time were not. The length of hospital stay was increased in the surgical site infection group (median 12 (5-152)) compared to the rest of the patients (median 9 (5-145)) (p = 0.032), while rejection rate was lower although not significantly different (0% versus 4.4%) (p = 0.295). Patient and graft survival at 1, 3 and 5 years were lower in the SSI group compared to non-SSI (p = 0.001 and 0.003, respectively).
In our experience, re-transplants pose higher risk for SSI compared to primary transplants. SSI increase the length of hospital stay and impact negatively on survival after liver transplantation.