Low Adherence to Recommended Guidelines for Open Fracture Antibiotic Prophylaxis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background: Prompt administration of antibiotics is a critical component of open fracture treatment. Traditional antibiotic recommendations have been a first-generation cephalosporin for Gustilo Type-I and Type-II open fractures, with the addition of an aminoglycoside for Type-III fractures and penicillin for soil contamination. However, concerns over changing bacterial patterns and the side effects of aminoglycosides have led to interest in other regimens. The purpose of the present study was to describe the adherence to current prophylactic antibiotic guidelines. Methods: We evaluated the antibiotic-prescribing practices of 24 centers in the U.S. and Canada that were participating in 2 randomized controlled trials of skin-preparation solutions for open fractures. A total of 1,234 patients were evaluated. Results: All patients received antibiotics on the day of admission. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic regimen was cefazolin monotherapy (53.6%). Among patients with Type-I and Type-II fractures, there was 61.1% compliance with cefazolin monotherapy. In contrast, only 17.2% of patients with Type-III fractures received the recommended cefazolin and aminoglycoside therapy, with an additional 6.7% receiving piperacillin/tazobactam. Conclusions: There is moderate adherence to the traditional antibiotic treatment guidelines for Gustilo Type-I and Type-II fractures and low adherence for Type-III fractures. Given the divergence between current practice patterns and prior recommendations, high-quality studies are needed to determine the most appropriate prophylactic protocol.


  • Lin, Carol A
  • O'Hara, Nathan N
  • Sprague, Sheila Ann
  • O'Toole, Robert V
  • Joshi, Manjari
  • Harris, Anthony D
  • Warner, Stephen J
  • Johal, Herman
  • Natoli, Roman M
  • Hagen, Jennifer E
  • Jeray, Kyle J
  • Fowler, Justin T
  • Phelps, Kevin D
  • Pilson, Holly T
  • Gitajn, I Leah
  • Bhandari, Mohit
  • Slobogean, Gerard P

publication date

  • April 7, 2021

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