Infection Control Lacking in Many Surgeries

Half of patients aren't getting antimicrobial drugs as recommended

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TUESDAY, Feb. 22, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- Only half of U.S. patients undergoing surgery are properly administered drugs important for the prevention of infection at the site of incision, according to researchers.

Reporting in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, researchers at the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, in Oklahoma City, reviewed the medical records of more than 34,000 patients from almost 3,000 hospitals across the United States.

They found that slightly less than 56 percent of patients were treated with antimicrobial drugs within one hour prior to incision, as recommended by current surgical guidelines.

In fact, almost 10 percent of patients "received their first dose more than four hours after incision, when little if any benefit would be expected based on these previously published guidelines," lead author Dr. Dale W. Bratzler said in a prepared statement.

His team also found that just over 59 percent of patients received antimicrobial medications for more than 24 hours after surgery, another violation of guidelines. That kind of extended use can promote antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and increase the incidence of antibiotic-associated complications, the researchers warn.

More information

To learn more about a wide range of surgeries, visit the American College of Surgeons.

SOURCE: Archives of Surgery, news release, Feb. 21, 2005

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