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Antibiotic therapy is needed to minimise the risk of patients developing potentially fatal infections following liver transplants, according to new research.
The Spanish study looked at the cases of more than 1,200 transplant patients and identified those who became ill in the first 30 days following surgery. They found that 8.8% of patients suffered a surgical site infection (SSI), most within the first few weeks after the operation.
The predominant infection site was the incision (42%), while 39% of infections were peritonitis, 16% intraabdominal abscess and 10% hepatic abscess, the researchers wrote in the journal Liver Transplantation.
Most infections were caused by gram-negative aerobic bacteria, which are inhabitants of the digestive tract. Infection risk was related to choice of antibiotic prophylaxis, with the highest risk seen with the use of cefazolin. Fungal infection occurred in 10 cases – a remarkably high number as many of the participant institutions used fluconazole.
The study concluded that the incidence of SSIs could be reduced by using bacterial prophylaxis in liver transplantation. Randomised trials are needed to determine the optimal antibiotic therapy to prevent SSIs after liver transplantation, the researchers added.
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