This study aimed to determine whether switching from balanced salt solution (BSS) to vancomycin 20 g/mL BSS for incision hydration and eye pressurization reduces the rate of postcataract endophthalmitis.
This was a patient safety/quality improvement project, including all patients undergoing cataract surgery at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Ophthalmology Department from January 2002 to December 2014. Throughout the study, patients received vancomycin 20 μg/mL in the irrigating solution. During the baseline period from 2002 to 2005, surgeons pressurized eyes and hydrated incisions with plain BSS. During the intervention period from 2006 through 2014, surgeons switched from BSS to the vancomycin/BSS irrigating solution for eye pressurization and incision hydration.
A total of 57,263 cataract operations were performed by 24 surgeons at seven surgical centers: 12,400 in the baseline period and 44,863 in the intervention period. The rate of post-cataract endophthalmitis declined significantly from 5/12,400 (rate: 0.4/1,000) in the baseline period to 1/44,863 (rate: 0.022/1,000) during the intervention period (odds ratio [OR]: 18.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.11-154.9; χ (2)=13.5, P=0.00024). Accounting for an estimated 2.05-fold risk reduction due to confounding variables, the risk reduction attributed to the intervention remained significant: (adjusted OR: 8.78, 95% CI: 1.73-44.5; χ (2)=10.06, P=0.0015). Since 2009, we have not experienced any cases of postcataract endophthalmitis after 32,753 operations.
We experienced a significant reduction in postcataract endophthalmitis when we switched from BSS to the vancomycin/BSS irrigating solution for incision hydration and eye pressurization. The pharmacokinetics profile indicates that this switch was important for effective prophylaxis.