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Antibiotic Use and Overuse for Appendicectomy in Antigua and Barbuda

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The use of antibiotics for appendicectomy in Antigua and Barbuda, from January 1998 to December 1999, was examined with respect to current Surgical Infection Society guidelines from developed countries. There were 143 cases of appendicectomy performed at Holberton Hospital. The mean patient age and standard deviation (SD) was 28.1 ± 15.8 years, 57% female. Pathology showed inflammed appendix only in 56%, peri-appendiceal abscess/perforation in 17%, “fibrosed” appendix in 10% and normal appendix in 17%. Postoperative infection (wound infection, fever > three days) was seen in 7/24 (29%) of cases with peri-appendiceal abscess/ perforation and 2/119 (1.7%) of the other cases. A subset of 88 cases had antibiotic use reviewed: 3/88 (3.4%) were given no antibiotics, 7/88 (8%) were given one antibiotic, 5/88 (5.7%) were given two antibiotics, 72/88 (81.8%) were given three antibiotics and 1/88 (1.1%) was given four antibiotics. Parenteral antibiotics were given a mean and SD of 5.39 ± 1.94 days followed by oral antibiotics in 18/88 (20.5%) cases. Those with appendiceal abscess/perforation were treated parenterally for mean and SD of 6.56 ± 2.35 days, not significantly different from others. Most frequent antibiotics used were gentamicin, metronidazole and ampicillin/penicillin/ cloxacillin/cephradine (81.8%). The Surgical Infection Society recommends starting prophylactic antibiotics before surgery, using appropriate spectrum agents for less than 24 hours if not contaminated and less than five days if infected. It may be possible to safely reduce antibiotic use for appendicectomy in Antigua and Barbuda.

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e-Published: 06 Jun, 2013
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