Shorter Antibiotic Course Post Abdominal Surgery May Be Viable

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Shorter Antibiotic Course Post Abdominal Surgery May Be Viable
Shorter Antibiotic Course Post Abdominal Surgery May Be Viable

THURSDAY, June 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A shorter course of antibiotic treatment for abdominal infections after surgery may be as equally effective as a longer course, a new study suggests. The findings were published in the May 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study -- led by researchers at the University of Virginia -- included 518 patients in the United States and Canada with abdominal infections. First, the source of the infection was treated, such as the removal of an inflamed appendix. After surgery, half of the patients took antibiotics for eight days. The other half took antibiotics for only four days.

The researchers found that surgical-site infection, recurrent intraabdominal infection, or death occurred in 21.8 percent of the four-day group and 22.3 percent of the eight-day group (absolute difference, −0.5 percentage point; 95 percent confidence interval, −7.0 to 8.0; P = 0.92). In the individual rates of the components of the primary outcome or in other secondary outcomes, no significant between-group differences were noted.

"It's important for physicians to realize the most important aspect of the management of these patients is controlling the source of infection," Robert Sawyer, M.D., from the departments of surgery and anesthesiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, said in a university news release. "These data certainly suggest that if a good operation is performed, a short course of antibiotics may be all that is required."

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