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Infection after elective colorectal surgery: bacteriological analysis of failures in a randomized trial of cefotetan vs. ertapenem prophylaxis.

Author(s): Goldstein EJ, Citron DM, Merriam CV, Abramson MA

Affiliation(s): R. M. Alden Research Laboratory, Santa Monica, California 90404, USA. ejcgmd@aol.com

Publication date & source: 2009-04, Surg Infect (Larchmt)., 10(2):111-8.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: A randomized study comparing single-dose cefotetan and ertapenem prophylaxis for elective colorectal surgery in 1,002 patients found ertapenem to be significantly more effective (p < 0.001). Failures of prophylaxis were thought to involve organisms resistant to both antimicrobial agents, isolated most often from deep or superficial incision sites. METHODS: Further testing and analysis of the microbial data was performed. Susceptibility results were correlated with the clinical outcomes reported previously. RESULTS: Of the 216 aerobes tested, 62.6% were resistant to cefotetan and 44% to ertapenem. Enterococci and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis were the aerobes recovered most frequently, and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, Clostridium innocuum, and Eubacterium lentum were the most frequent anaerobes. Enterococcus faecalis usually was associated in mixed culture with Bacteroides fragilis group species. Approximately one-half of the 158 anaerobes (50.7%), including all the species above, were resistant to cefotetan; most of these (61.4%) came from superficial incision sites. Only one anaerobe (Desulfovibrio fairfieldensis), found in a superficial incisional infection, was resistant to ertapenem, and no ertapenem-resistant enteric bacteria were recovered. In vitro resistance was associated with therapeutic failure. CONCLUSIONS: The in vitro activity of ertapenem was superior to that of cefotetan against all anaerobic and many aerobic bacteria isolated from postoperative cultures of patients who failed prophylaxis with these agents. Our findings help to elucidate the results of the clinical trial.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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