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Single-Dose Antibiotics Effective for Surgery Infection

One-time treatment before surgery has rates similar to 24-hour dose for preventing surgical site infection

TUESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of surgical site infection can be reduced just as effectively with a single dose of antibiotics prior to surgery as with a 24-hour dosing regimen, according to a study in the November issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Silvia Nunes Szente Fonseca, M.D., M.P.H., of Hospital Sao Francisco in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues conducted a study of 6,140 surgical patients treated from February to October 2002 with a 24-hour prophylactic dose of antibiotics and 6,159 patients treated between December 2002 and August 2003 with a single-dose antibiotic prophylaxis.

In all, 12,299 patients were followed-up during their hospital stay. Both regimens produced similar rates of surgical site infection -- 2 percent for the 24-hour regimen group and 2.1 percent for the single-dose group -- but the number of vials of cephazolin used decreased from 1,259 a month to 467, saving the hospital $1,980 a month. There was 99 percent compliance with the single-dose regimen.

"One-dose prophylaxis is feasible," the authors conclude. "In this era of restricted hospital budgets and increased bacterial resistance, one-dose prophylaxis may provide a way to improve performance by lowering costs."

An accompanying editorial states that "the most impressive aspect of this research is the successful implementation of a hospital-wide process change, which overnight standardized antibiotic administration for every operation in every specialty."

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