Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Preoperative and postoperative recommendations to surgical wound care interventions: a systematic meta-review of Cochrane reviews.

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-08-19, 11:24 authored by Brigid M. Gillespie, Rachel M. Walker, Elizabeth McInnes, Zena MooreZena Moore, Anne M. Eskes, Tom O'ConnorTom O'Connor, Emma Harbeck, Codi White, Ian A. Scott, Hester Vermeulen, Wendy Chaboyer

Background: The increasing numbers of surgeries involving high risk, multi-morbid patients, coupled with inconsistencies in the practice of perioperative surgical wound care, increases patients' risk of surgical site infection and other wound complications.

Objectives: To synthesise and evaluate the recommendations for nursing practice and research from published systematic reviews in the Cochrane Library on nurse-led preoperative prophylaxis and postoperative surgical wound care interventions used or initiated by nurses.

Design: Meta-review, guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.

Data sources: The Cochrane Library database.

Review methods: All Cochrane Systematic Reviews were eligible. Two reviewers independently selected the reviews and extracted data. One reviewer appraised the methodological quality of the included reviews using A MeaSurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews 2 checklist. A second reviewer independently verified these appraisals. The review protocol was registered with the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews.

Results: Twenty-two Cochrane reviews met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 11 reviews focused on preoperative interventions to prevent infection, while 12 focused on postoperative interventions (one review assessed both pre-postoperative interventions). Across all reviews, 14 (63.6%) made at least one recommendation to undertake a specific practice, while two reviews (9.1%) made at least one specific recommendation not to undertake a practice. In relation to recommendations for further research, insufficient sample size was the most predominant methodological issue (12/22) identified across reviews.

Conclusions: The limited number of recommendations for pre-and-postoperative interventions reflects the paucity of high-quality evidence, suggesting a need for rigorous trials to address these evidence gaps in fundamentals of nursing care.


School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Australia


Published Citation

Gillespie BM, Walker RM, McInnes E, Moore Z, Eskes AM,O'Connor T, Harbeck E, White C, Scott IA, Vermeulen H, Chaboyer W. Preoperative and postoperative recommendations to surgical wound care interventions: a systematic meta-review of Cochrane reviews. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2020; 102:103486

Publication Date


PubMed ID



  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Skin Wounds and Trauma (SWaT) Research Centre

Research Area

  • Nursing and Midwifery


  • Published Version (Version of Record)