Antimicrobial prophylaxis in colorectal surgery: focus on ertapenem
Fausto de Lalla
Libero Docente of Infectious Diseases, University of Milano, Milano, Italy
Abstract: Despite improvement in infection control measures and surgical practice, surgical site infections (SSIs) remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In colorectal surgery, perioperative administration of a suitable antimicrobial regimen that covers both anaerobic and aerobic bacteria is universally accepted. In a prospective, double-blind, randomized study ertapenem was recently found to be more effective than cefotetan, a parenteral cephalosporin so broadly used as to be considered as gold standard in the prevention of SSIs following colorectal surgery. In this adequate and well controlled study, the superiority of ertapenem over cefotetan was clearly demonstrated from the clinical and bacteriological points of view. However, data that directly compares ertapenem with other antimicrobial regimen effective in preventing SSIs following colorectal surgery are lacking; furthermore, the possible risk of promotion of carbapenem resistance associated with widespread use of ertapenem prophylaxis as well as the ertapenem effects on the intestinal gut flora are of concern. Further comparative studies of ertapenem versus other widely used prophylactic regimens for colorectal surgery in patients submitted to mechanical bowel preparation versus no preparation as well as further research on adverse events of antibiotic prophylaxis, including emergence of resistance and Clostridium difficile infection, seem warranted.
Keywords: colorectal surgery, surgical prophylaxis, ertapenem
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