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March 1988

Duration of Preventive Antibiotic Administration for Open Extremity Fractures

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Dellinger and Lennard and Mss Wertz and Droppert) and Orthopaedics (Dr Benirschke), University of Washington, Seattle; the Departments of Infectious Disease (Dr Caplan and Ms Hoyt) and Orthopaedics (Drs Brumback, Burgess, and Poka), Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore; and the Departments of Orthopaedics (Dr Weaver) and Surgery (Dr Lou), Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School at UCLA. Dr Lou is now with the Tien Medical Center, Taipei-Hsien, Taiwan.

Arch Surg. 1988;123(3):333-339. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400270067010

• The necessary duration of antibiotic administration after open fracture has not been established. In a double-blind prospective trial we randomized 248 patients with open fractures to receive one or five days of cefonicid sodium therapy or five days of cefamandole nafate therapy as part of the initial treatment. Rates of fracture-associated infections in the three groups were ten (13%) of 79, ten (12%) of 85, and 11 (13%) of 84, respectively. The 95% confidence limit for the difference in infection rates between the one-day group and the combined five-day groups was 0% to 8.3%. The actual difference was 0.2%. A brief course of antibiotic administration is not inferior to a prolonged course of antibiotics for prevention of postoperative fracture-site infections.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:333-339)