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Antibiotics Before Heart Surgery Prevents Infections

Update Date: Dec 26, 2013 09:00 AM EST

Consuming preoperative antibiotic therapy within two hours of cardiac surgery lowers the risk of developing surgical site infections (SSIs), a new study has found.

“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 in a press release. “Despite the general acceptance of this concept in guidelines, wide variations in preoperative antibiotic administration practices have been reported.”

Researchers at Rambam Medical Center in Israel implemented a 10-year prospective cohort study. This emphasized an optimized policy for preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis in cardiac surgery. It included helping patients taking the first dose of antibiotic prophylaxis up to two hours before the first surgical incision.

They found that SSIs were remarkably less common among patients who had prophylaxis during the optimized period compared to patients who received the antibiotic at a different time.

Total of 2,637 patients took part in the study. Among them 8.3 percent who received preoperative antibiotics within a two-hour of the first incision developed an SSI. On the contrary, around 13.9 percent developed SSI who received antibiotic prophylaxis at a different time.

“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,” added Finkelstein.

The study is published in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

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