Early antibiotic treatment (prophylaxis) of septic complications in severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis: a prospective, randomized, multicenter study comparing two regimens with imipenem-cilastatin

Intensive Care Med. 2003 Nov;29(11):1974-80. doi: 10.1007/s00134-003-1956-z. Epub 2003 Oct 10.


Objective: We compared two imipenem regimens for prevention of septic complications in patients with severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis (ANP).

Design and setting: Prospective, randomized open clinical trial involving intensive care units of 14 Spanish Hospitals.

Participants: 92 patients with ANP.

Interventions: Imipenem/cilastatin was administered at 500 mg four times daily starting at the time of diagnosis of ANP, within the first 96 h from the onset of symptoms. Patients were randomized to receive antibiotic prophylaxis either for 14 days (group 1) or at least for 14 days and as long as major systemic complications of the disease persisted (group 2).

Results: Antibiotic was maintained in group 2 for 19.7+/-10.9 days. The incidence of infected pancreatic necrosis, pancreatic abscess, and extrapancreatic infections was 11%, 17%, and 28% in group 1 and 17.4%, 13%, and 35% in group 2 (n.s.). Pancreatic or extrapancreatic infection by Candida albicans occurred in 7% and 22% of patients. Global mortality was 18.5% (10.9% secondary to septic complications), without differences between groups. In patients with persisting systemic complications at day 14 mortality was almost always secondary to septic complications and decreased from 25% (group 1) to 8.8% (group 2) by maintaining antibiotic prophylaxis.

Conclusions: Compared to a 14-day imipenem prophylaxis, a longer antibiotic administration in patients with ANP is not associated with a reduction in the incidence of septic complications of the disease. However, prolonged imipenem administration in patients with persisting systemic complications tends to reduce mortality in ANP compared to a 14-days regimen.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Cause of Death
  • Cilastatin / administration & dosage*
  • Cilastatin, Imipenem Drug Combination
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Imipenem / administration & dosage*
  • Incidence
  • Infection Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / complications*
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Drug Combinations
  • Cilastatin
  • Imipenem
  • Cilastatin, Imipenem Drug Combination