Averting postsurgical infections in kids: Give antibiotics within hour before first incision

Jul 18, 2008

Giving children preventive antibiotics within one hour before they undergo spinal surgery greatly reduces the risk for serious infections after the surgery, suggests a Johns Hopkins study to be published in the August issue of Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (also available online ahead of print). Children who received antibiotics outside of the golden one-hour window were three and half times more likely to develop serious infections at the surgery site, researchers report, pointing out that something as simple as ensuring that a child gets timely prophylaxis can prevent serious complications and reduce the length of hospital stay.

"When it comes to preventing infections, when a child gets antibiotics appears to be one of the most critical yet most easily modifiable risk factors, and may matter just as much as the type and dosage of the medication ,"says lead researcher Aaron Milstone, M.D., infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "The moral of this is that an ounce of timely prevention is indeed worth a pound of treatment."

Nearly 780,000 postsurgical infections occur in the United States each year, according to estimates from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. An infection after surgery nearly doubles a patient's risk of death, doubles a patient's hospital stay and adds up to $50,000 to treatment costs per patient, researchers say.

While preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis is standard in adults, there are no standard guidelines on how to administer antibiotics in children undergoing surgery.

Reviewing nearly 1,000 spinal fusion surgeries performed in children over a six-year period at Hopkins, investigators found 36 deep surgical site infections. More serious than superficial skin infections, these can cause serious complications and require aggressive treatment including additional surgeries and long-term antibiotics. Of the 36 cases, 28 percent received medication outside the one-hour window, either more than an hour before incision or after the surgery began. Other factors affecting infection risk included underlying medical conditions and previous spinal surgeries, researchers found.

Even though spinal fusion surgeries are complex procedures and thus carry higher risk for deep-site infections, the findings are likely relevant to many types of surgical procedures, the researchers say, because timing is always critical when administering antibiotics, either as treatment or prevention.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Explore further: Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Learning anti-microbial physics from cicada

Nov 27, 2014

(Phys.org) —Inspired by the wing structure of a small fly, an NPL-led research team developed nano-patterned surfaces that resist bacterial adhesion while supporting the growth of human cells.

Wireless electronic implants stop staph, then dissolve

Nov 24, 2014

Researchers at Tufts University, in collaboration with a team at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, have demonstrated a resorbable electronic implant that eliminated bacterial infection in mice ...

Researchers unzip MRSA and discover route for vaccine

Jan 16, 2011

University of Rochester Medical Center orthopaedic scientists are a step closer to developing a vaccine to prevent life-threatening methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections following bone and joint surgery.

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

15 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

16 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

18 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

19 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.