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June 1986

Rarity of Failure of Penicillin Prophylaxis to Prevent Postsplenectomy Sepsis

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(6):1207-1208. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360180225033

• All splenectomized individuals are at risk of developing pneumococcal sepsis, but most reports fail to mention how many patients are given prophylactic penicillin therapy. Fourteen reported cases of postsplenectomy bacterial sepsis in patients receiving prophylactic penicillin therapy are reviewed. In only five cases, the patients had penicillin-sensitive pneumococcal infection. Hence, the exact frequency of the failure of penicillin prophylaxis cannot be calculated, but it appears to be very rare. Continuous antibiotic prophylaxis used indefinitely and pneumococcal vaccine are both strongly recommended for all children and adults undergoing splenectomy.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:1207-1208)