Preoperative microbiologic screening and antibiotic prophylaxis in pulmonary resection operations

Ann Thorac Surg. 1999 Jul;68(1):208-11. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(99)00400-2.


Background: Pulmonary resection is associated with considerable risk of infection, so antibiotic prophylaxis has become routine practice in pulmonary operations. We studied two standard flash antibiotic prophylaxis regimens and matched them to preoperatively acquired microorganisms.

Methods: In 120 patients scheduled for elective pulmonary resection, aspirates were taken separately from the left and the right lung using a double-lumen tube. Then the patients received either 1.5 g of sulbactam plus ampicillin (n = 60; group 1) or 2 g of cefazolin (n = 60; group 2) intravenously as a single-shot antibiotic prophylaxis according to a prospective randomized sequence. When bacteria were found in the aspirates, both antibiotics were tested for susceptibility. The patients were monitored for the first 3 postoperative days with regard to bronchopulmonary infections.

Results: Fifty-eight pathogens were isolated from the 120 patients. The cultured bacteria did not differ significantly between the two groups. In group 1 all found bacteria were susceptible to the used antibiotic prophylaxis, whereas in group 2 eight of the 25 found bacteria were not susceptible to antibiotic prophylaxis. Postoperatively, group 2 showed significantly more signs of bronchopulmonary infections than the group 1 and subsequently needed additional antibiotics more often. Intensive care unit stay was longer in patients of group 2 and costs were higher for these patients.

Conclusions: Preoperative microbiologic examination could be helpful to evaluate efficacy of the antibiotic prophylaxis regimen. Sulbactam plus ampicillin was significantly more effective than cefazolin.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ampicillin / administration & dosage
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Cefazolin / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lung / microbiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Sulbactam / administration & dosage


  • Ampicillin
  • Cefazolin
  • Sulbactam