Antibiotics before heart surgery protect against infection

December 23, 2013

CHICAGO (December 23, 2013) - A new study found preoperative antibiotic therapy administered within two hours of cardiac surgery decreased the risk of developing surgical site infections (SSIs) significantly. The study was published in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

"Antimicrobial prophylaxis can reduce the risk of SSIs following many operations, however that efficacy diminishes or disappears if antibiotics are given either too early or after incision," said Renato Finkelstein, MD, lead author of the study. "Despite the general acceptance of this concept in guidelines, wide variations in preoperative antibiotic administration practices have been reported."

Dr. Finkelstein and his colleagues at Rambam Medical Center in Israel implemented a 10-year prospective cohort study emphasizing an optimized policy for preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis in cardiac surgery that included administering the first dose of antibiotic prophylaxis up to two hours before the first surgical incision. Prophylaxis given at a different time ranged in administration of three hours before to after the surgery.

SSIs were significantly less common among patients who received prophylaxis during the optimized period than patients who received antibiotic prophylaxis at a different time. Of the 2,637 patients included in the study, 8.3 percent (206 patients of 2,536) who received preoperative antibiotics within a two-hour window of the first incision developed an SSI, compared with 13.9 percent (14 patients of 101) of patients who received antibiotic prophylaxis at a different time. Additionally, in the last two years of the study near complete compliance of optimized administration of preoperative antibiotics was achieved.

"Our infection control program demonstrates the positive collaboration surgeons and infection control personnel can have to improve patient safety and reduce the risk of postsurgical infection," said Finkelstein.
-end-
Renato Finkelstein, Galit Rabino, Tania Mashiach, Yaron Bar-El, Zvi Adler, Victor Kertzman, Oved Cohen, Simcha Milo. "Effect of Preoperative Antibiotic Prophylaxis on Surgical Site Infections Complicating Cardiac Surgery." Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 35:1 (January 2014).

Published through a partnership between the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and The University of Chicago Press, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology provides original, peer-reviewed scientific articles for anyone involved with an infection control or epidemiology program in a hospital or healthcare facility. ICHE is ranked 13 out of 158 journals in its discipline in the latest Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.

SHEA is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world with expertise in healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention and control. SHEA's mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. The society leads this field by promoting science and research and providing high-quality education and training in epidemiologic methods and prevention strategies. SHEA upholds the value and critical contributions of healthcare epidemiology to improving patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings. Visit SHEA online at http://www.shea-online.org, http://www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and @SHEA_Epi.

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

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