THE principal treatment of combat wounds is debridement which minimizes infection. However, in some tactical situations, such as our soldiers are encountering in Vietnam, debridement may not be possible for a period of 24 hours or longer. Under these circumstances, how can one minimize wound infection?
At Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, individual spray units of oxytetracycline applied topically on large contaminated crush wounds of rabbits' thighs were evaluated. The mortality rate of this group was 1% while the mortality rate of groups in which systemic oxytetracycline was used and of the control group were 51% and 67%, respectively.1 Topical antibiotic therapy is not a substitute for debridement. However, it can maintain an uninfected wound for a period of time until debridement is possible.
The purpose of this study is to determine if there is any better antibiotic or combination of antibiotics for this purpose. Is there any
Matsumoto T, Hardaway RM, Dobek AS, Noyes HE, Heisterkamp CA. Antibiotic Topical Spray in a Simulated Combat Wound: II. Neomycin-Bacitracin-Polymyxin B, and Penicillin. Arch Surg. 1968;96(5):786–789. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330230094011
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