Melissa DeLeon

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Various studies have been conducted regarding the risk factors for surgical site infections (SSI) in women who undergo a cesarean section (CS). However, minimal literature exists where independent risk factors such as income and access to food are observed in relation to surgical site infections. Despite technological advances in wound dressings, surgical techniques, and medications, the number of SSI following CS remains substantially high. The purpose of this study is to determine if a correlation exits between neighborhood income and access to food and the development of surgical site infections among women who have had a cesarean section. A retrospective analysis hypothesizing that health disparities may be a factor in the development of SSI was conducted. This study was based on administrative coding data from a multi-hospital health system with rural and urban acute care facilities in North Texas. A rate of infectious complications was calculated by ZIP code for the period of June 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. A total of 191 ZIP codes were analyzed for SSI, income, and food access. The mean SSI rate was 1.3% with 143 ZIP codes having 0 infections, 40 ZIP codes having one infection, five ZIP codes having two infections, three ZIP codes having three infections, and one ZIP code having four infections. The highest prevalence of infections was found in the low income ($31,919-$56,626), and low access category which included 82 out of 191 ZIP codes. The very low and very high income categories presented very similar findings in the number of SSI per ZIP code. The results were not statistically significant (P = 0.469). This study was limited to one hospital system and a six month time period and therefore suggests that a larger sample size and further research is required to analyze the relationship between these variables as literature is limited in this area of study.

Publication Date






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