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Today's News

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Antibiotics unnecessary before routine shoulder or knee arthroscopies

Giving patients prophylactic antibiotics just prior to routine knee or shoulder arthroscopies will not lower their risk of infection, according to researchers for Scientific Exhibit SE068.

Health workers commonly give antibiotics to patients immediately before they undergo these routine arthroscopies to prevent infection. Researchers seeking to determine if the antibiotics were necessary compared the infection rates of arthroscopy patients who had taken antibiotics to those who hadn't taken antibiotics.

The researchers reviewed 3,874 arthroscopies performed over a period of three years at a physician-owned ambulatory surgery center. These procedures included 3,231 knee arthroscopies, of which more than 86 percent were arthroscopic meniscectomies, and 643 shoulder arthroscopies, of which more than 82 percent were labral repairs and subacromial decompressions.

Health care workers gave prophylactic antibiotics to 933 of the 3,231 knee arthroscopy patients, and 378 of the 643 shoulder arthroscopy patients. After the procedure, researchers noted any infections, which they defined as positive joint aspirate.

The researchers found no statistical difference in infection rates between both groups of arthroscopy patients. The infection rate was 0.15 percent for patients that received antibiotics and 0.16 percent for those who didn't.

The researchers included: Debbie Giannini, RN; Jack M. Bert, MD; and Lesley Nace, RN, all of St. Paul, Minn.

 
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