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. 2009 Jun;197(6):806-13.
doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.08.016. Epub 2009 Feb 13.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis Is Not Protective in Severe Acute Pancreatitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Antibiotic Prophylaxis Is Not Protective in Severe Acute Pancreatitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Nadim S Jafri et al. Am J Surg. .


Background: The use of prophylactic systemic antibiotics to prevent infection and reduce mortality in severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) remains a contentious issue. We assessed the clinical outcome of patients with SAP treated with prophylactic antibiotics compared with that of patients not treated with antibiotics.

Methods: We performed a systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, using PubMed, Google Scholar, and Ovid as search engines without language restriction until the end of May 2008. We also manually searched the references of original/review articles and evaluated symposia proceedings, poster presentations, and abstracts from major gastrointestinal and surgical meetings. Relative risks were calculated for individual trials and data were pooled using a fixed-effects model. Relative risk (RR) reduction, absolute risk reduction, and number needed to treat were calculated and are reported with 95% confidence intervals.

Results: Results were subjected to sensitivity analysis to determine heterogeneity among studies. We pooled 502 patients from 8 studies. Patient age ranged from 43 to 59 years, and length of stay ranged from 18 to 95 days. There were 253 patients with SAP who received prophylactic antibiotics, and 249 patients were randomized to the placebo arm. Overall, there was no protective effect of antibiotic treatment with respect to mortality (RR, .76; 95% confidence interval [CI], .49-1.16). With respect to morbidity, antibiotic prophylaxis did not protect against infected necrosis (RR, .79; 95% CI, .56-1.11) or surgical intervention (RR, .88; 95% CI, .65-1.20). There was, however, an apparent benefit in regards to nonpancreatic infections (RR, .60; 95% CI, .44-.82), with a RR reduction of 40% (95% CI, 18%-56%), absolute risk reduction of 15% (95% CI, 6%-23%), and number needed to treat of 7 (95% CI, 4-17).

Conclusions: Antibiotic prophylaxis of SAP does not reduce mortality or protect against infected necrosis, or frequency of surgical intervention.

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