Study Says Fewer Antibiotics After Abdominal Surgery May Be in Order
Balancing patient needs with growing worries about increasing antibiotic resistance problems is no easy feat for doctors. This is especially so in the days following surgery when regular courses of antibiotics are indicated to eradicate existing infections or prevent new ones from arising. In the case of infection-prompted abdominal surgeries, however, researchers are finding cutting back on antibiotics may deliver the same results as longer courses that lend to resistance problems.
Researchers from the University of Virginia delved into the problem by heading up a study that included more than 500 patients across the United States and Canada. These patients all had abdominal infections. Patients were first treated at the source of the infection. So, for example, patients with appendicitis conditions had their inflamed appendixes removed. After that, half the study group received a course of antibiotics for eight days. The other half received antibiotics for only four days, researchers noted. The overall outcomes for both groups were quite similar, leading researchers to say that only a short course of antibiotics may be required to adequately treat infection post-surgery.
Results of the study were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers note there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of guidance on how long courses of antibiotics should be given when abdominal infections prompt surgical procedures. The study has helped shed some light on the topic while addressing some of the concerns about antibiotic overuse.
Antibiotic resistance involves the diminishing effectiveness some antibiotics have witnessed over time. When antibiotics are overused, bacteria tend to become resistant to their effects. That means infections that were once quite manageable through drug treatments in the past are becoming less so. This growing problem has raised national alarm bells and has physicians rethinking their strategies in regard to prescribing these medications. The University of Virginia study offers some guidance now at least in the case of antibiotic effectiveness in abdominal surgery cases.
Abdominal Surgery Specialists, a part of the Nicholson Clinic, is led by Dr. Nick Nicholson, one of the most experienced laparoscopic surgeons in the country.