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July 1968

Topical Spray of Antibiotics in Simulated Combat Wounds: III. Time Factor Between Wounding and Spray

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC
From the Division of Surgery, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Arch Surg. 1968;97(1):56-60. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01340010086008

THE PRINCIPLE that prompt, adequate debridement of massive and open wounds, particularly those incurred in military conflict, minimizes infection repeatedly has been tested, proved, and is generally accepted. However, in a military situation, debridement may be delayed because of transportation and logistical and tactical situations. Wounds undebrided for some length of time tend to become infected, even after debridement. At present, application of dressings initially is the only procedure employed or recommended.

We conducted a series of experiments to determine whether topically applied antibiotics would reduce infection in these kinds of wounds; and, if so, what antibiotic or combination of antibiotics produced the best results. These results have been reported.1,2 However, in these studies the antibiotic was sprayed 15 minutes after wounding.

This study attempts to determine the optimum time after wounding for application of a topical antibiotic.

Materials and Methods  A total of 120 rabbits weighing 2.5 to

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