Background: There is no agreement whether intravenous prophylactic antibiotics can reduce infected pancreatic necrosis and mortality in acute necrotizing pancreatitis (ANP). We performed a meta-analysis comparing intravenous antibiotics with placebo or no treatment in randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Methods: Databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane controlled trials register, the Cochrane Library, and Science Citation Index were searched to find relevant trials. Outcome measures were infected necrosis and mortality.
Results: Seven trials involving 467 patients were included. Analysis suggested infected pancreatic necrosis rates were not significantly different (antibiotics 17.8%, controls 22.9%), RR 0.81 (95% CI 0.54-1.22). There was nonsignificantly decreased mortality with antibiotics (9.3%) versus controls (15.2%), RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.42-1.17). Subsequent subgroup analysis confirmed antibiotics were not statistically superior to controls in reduction of infected necrosis and mortality.
Conclusions: Prophylactic antibiotics cannot reduce infected pancreatic necrosis and mortality in patients with ANP.