Short Courses of Antibiotics Are Safe in Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections

Link to article at PubMed

Am Surg. 2021 Oct 27:31348211051700. doi: 10.1177/00031348211051700. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTIs) carry high morbidity and mortality. While early aggressive surgical debridement is well-accepted treatment for NSTIs, the optimum duration of adjunct antibiotic therapy is unclear. An increasing focus on safety and evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship suggests a value in addressing this knowledge gap.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether shorter antibiotic courses have similar outcomes compared to longer courses in patients with NSTI following adequate source control.

POPULATION: 142 consecutive patients with surgically managed NSTI were identified on retrospective chart review between December 2014 and December 2018 at two academic medical centers.

RESULTS: Patients were predominately male (74%) with a median age of 52 and similar baseline characteristics. The median number of debridements to definitive source control was 2 (IQR 1-3) with the short course group undergoing a greater number of debridements control 2.57 ± 1.8 vs 1.9 ± 1.2, (P = .01). Of 142 patients, 34.5% received a short course and the remaining 65.5% received a longer course of antibiotics. There was no significant difference in the incidence of bacteremia or wound culture positivity between groups. There was also no significant difference in in-hospital mortality, 8% vs 6, (P = .74), incidence of C. difficile infection, median length of stay, or 30-day readmission.

CONCLUSION: Provided adequate surgical debridement, similar outcomes in morbidity and mortality suggest antibiotic courses of 7 days or less are equally safe compared to longer courses.

PMID:34704506 | DOI:10.1177/00031348211051700

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