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December 1997

Surgical Wound Infection in Renal Transplantation: Outcome Data in 102 Consecutive Patients Without Perioperative Systemic Antibiotic Coverage

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, State University of New York at Buffalo; and Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, Pa.

Arch Surg. 1997;132(12):1315-1319. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430360061011

Background:  The incidence of surgical wound infection in the presence of immunosuppression has been reported in the literature to approach 7%. Perioperative systemic antibiotic therapy is routinely used to reduce the occurrence of wound infections. This therapy is not without complications, including adverse effects and development of resistant strains.

Design:  Surgical wound infection rates during the first 100 days after renal transplantation were studied in 102 consecutive patients. Eighty-one patients underwent cadaveric transplantation and 21 patients underwent living-related donor transplantation from February 1, 1991, to January 1, 1992. No systemic perioperative antibiotic coverage was used, but local antibiotic irrigation was part of the perioperative protocol.

Setting:  Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa, is a large, tertiary care center. Patients were initially hospitalized and were discharged during the 100-day follow-up period based on clinical status and improvement in renal function.

Patients:  Twenty-seven (25%) of 102 patients had diabetes mellitus.

Interventions:  Induction immunosuppression consisted of azathioprine, prednisone, and anitlymphocyte globulin, while maintenance immunosuppression consisted of azathioprine, prednisone, and cyclosporine. Acute allograft rejection episodes were treated with steroids and/or OKT3 (Ortho Pharmaceutical Group, Raritan, NJ).

Results:  Two surgical wound infections (2%) occurred. In both, infection was superficial, resolving with wound drainage and intravenous antibiotics. The surgical wound infection rate was not significantly affected by age, sex, allograft source, or presence of diabetes mellitus.

Conclusions:  Despite immunosuppression, the incidence of surgical wound infection was minimal, comparing favorably to rates reported for renal transplantation with the use of systemic antibiotics. Possible explanations for the low incidence of surgical wound infections include local wound irrigation, meticulous hemostasis, improved organ procurement techniques, and continuity in perioperative care.Arch Surg. 1997;132:1315-1319

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