Surgical Infection Society Research Priorities: A Narrative Review of Fourteen Years of Progress

Tina S. Mele, Haytham M.A. Kaafarani, Christopher A. Guidry, Michele M. Loor, David MacHado-Aranda, April E. Mendoza, Gareth Morris-Stiff, Rishi Rattan, Sebastian D. Schubl, Philip S. Barie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: In 2006, the Surgical Infection Society (SIS) utilized a modified Delphi approach to define 15 specific priority research questions that remained unanswered in the field of surgical infections. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the scientific progress achieved during the ensuing period in answering each of the 15 research questions and to determine if additional research in these fields is warranted. Methods: For each of the questions, a literature search using the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) was performed by the Scientific Studies Committee of the SIS to identify studies that attempted to address each of the defined questions. This literature was analyzed and summarized. The data on each question were evaluated by a surgical infections expert to determine if the question was answered definitively or remains unanswered. Results: All 15 priority research questions were studied in the last 14 years; six questions (40%) were definitively answered and 9 questions (60%) remain unanswered in whole or in part, mainly because of the low quality of the studies available on this topic. Several of the 9 unanswered questions were deemed to remain research priorities in 2020 and warrant further investigation. These included, for example, the role of empiric antimicrobial agents in nosocomial infections, the use of inotropes/vasopressors versus volume loading to raise the mean arterial pressure, and the role of increased antimicrobial dosing and frequency in the obese patient. Conclusions: Several surgical infection-related research questions prioritized in 2006 remain unanswered. Further high-quality research is required to provide a definitive answer to many of these priority knowledge gaps. An updated research agenda by the SIS is warranted at this time to define research priorities for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-582
Number of pages15
JournalSurgical infections
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • anti-infective therapy
  • empiric antimicrobial therapy
  • narrative review
  • research agenda
  • sepsis
  • septic shock
  • surgical infections
  • surgical site infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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