Personalized Ertapenem Prophylaxis for Carriers of Extended-spectrum β-Lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae Undergoing Colorectal Surgery

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Apr 15;70(9):1891-1897. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz524.


Background: Carriers of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-PE) who receive cephalosporin-based prophylaxis have twice the risk of surgical site infection (SSI) following colorectal surgery as noncarriers. We tested whether ESBL-PE screening and personalized prophylaxis with ertapenem reduces SSI risk among carriers.

Methods: We conducted a prospective nonrandomized, nonblinded, interventional study in 3 hospitals in Israel, Switzerland, and Serbia. Patients were screened for ESBL-PE carriage before elective colorectal surgery. During the baseline phase, departmental guidelines advised prophylaxis with a cephalosporin plus metronidazole. In the intervention phase, guidelines were changed for ESBL-PE carriers to receive ertapenem. The primary outcome was any type of SSI within 30 days. We calculated adjusted risk differences (ARDs) following logistic regression.

Results: The intention-to-treat analysis compared 209 ESBL-PE carriers in the baseline phase to 269 in the intervention phase. SSI rates were 21.5% and 17.5%, respectively (ARD, -4.7% [95% confidence interval {CI}, -11.8% to 2.4%]). Unplanned crossover was high (15%), so to assess efficacy we performed an as-treated analysis comparing 247 patients who received cephalosporin-based prophylaxis with 221 who received ertapenem. SSI rates were 22.7% and 15.8%, respectively (ARD, -7.7% [95% CI, -14.6% to -.8%]), and rates of SSI caused by ESBL-PE were 6.5% and 0.9%, respectively (ARD, -5.6% [95% CI, -8.9% to -2.3%]). There was no significant difference in the rate of deep SSI. The number needed to treat to prevent 1 SSI in ESBL-PE carriers was 13.

Conclusions: Screening for ESBL-PE carriage before colorectal surgery and personalizing prophylaxis for carriers is efficacious in reducing SSI.

Keywords: antibiotic prophylaxis; colorectal surgery; ertapenem; extended-spectrum β-lactamase; surgical site infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Colorectal Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections* / epidemiology
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections* / prevention & control
  • Ertapenem
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Prospective Studies
  • Switzerland
  • beta-Lactamases


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactamases
  • Ertapenem