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Details of talk

TitleA mathematical model of the use of supplemental oxygen to combat surgical site infection
PresenterJennifer Flegg (The University of Melbourne)
Author(s)Jennifer Flegg
SessionMathematical Biology

Infections are a common complication of any surgery, often requiring a recovery
period in hospital. Supplemental oxygen therapy, where 80% oxygen is
administered during and immediately after surgery, supports the immune response
to bacterial contamination. However, aerobic bacteria thrive in oxygen-rich
environments, and so it is unclear whether oxygen has a net positive effect on
recovery. Here, we develop a mathematical model of post-surgery infection that
allows us to predict the efficacy of supplemental oxygen therapy on
surgical-site infections. 

Oxygen-dependent behaviour of both bacteria and immune cells are modelled with
a set of partial differential equations that are solved numerically to predict
bacterial density within the wound over time.  A 4-species,  coupled, set of
non-linear partial differential equations that describes the space-time
dependence of neutrophils, bacteria, chemoattractant and oxygen is developed and
numerical solutions are obtained. We quantify the efficacy of different
supplemental oxygen treatment regimes in the treatment of surgical site
infections in wounds of different initial bacterial load.  Our findings
illustrate how the nature of the contaminant and its initial density influence
the ability to establish bacterial infection in the wound.