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Home E-Weekly August 23, 2016

Make Your Regional Anesthesia Safer

Published: August 22, 2016

A new study suggests that a single prophylactic dose of antibiotics may significantly reduce the incidence of both peripheral and epidural catheter infections.

In a study involving more than 40,000 patients who'd received continuous regional anesthesia, researchers found that the infection rates among those not given antibiotics were 2.4% for peripheral catheters and 5.2% for epidural catheters versus 1.1% and 3.1%, respectively, for those who were.

However, since "widespread uncritical use of antibiotics … remains a major problem," the authors advise practitioners to consider the risks and benefits of this infection prevention strategy before putting it to widespread use.

They further note that while "the risk of catheter-related infections was reduced by single-dose antibiotic prophylaxis in all subgroups," patients with prolonged catheter use (4 to 14 days) and patients with BMIs of 25 or greater are known to be at greater risk of infection, "suggesting that single-dose antibiotic prophylaxis might be especially useful in these populations."

Jim Burger

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