Abdominal surgical wound infection is lowered with improved perioperative enterococcus and bacteroides therapy

John A. Weigelt, Sheila M. Easley, Erwin R. Thai, Lynn D. Palmer, Virginia S. Newman

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47 Scopus citations


Perioperative antibiotics decrease surgical wound infection (SWI) in trauma patients requiring abdominal exploration. This investigation evaluated 24 hours of cefoxitin or ampicillin/sulbactam used for early therapy in such patients. Patients were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. The primary endpoint evaluated was SWI, which was defined as purulent drainage or active wound treatment. Five hundred ninety-two patients were evaluated: 283 received ampicillin/sulbactam and 309 received cefoxitin. The incidence of wound infection among the ampicillin/sulbactam patients was 2% and among cefoxitin patients it was 7% (p < 0.004). The significantly lower SWI rate persisted when only the 57 ampicillin/sulbactam and 54 cefoxitin patients with colon injuries were analyzed (p < 0.007). The major difference between the two groups was an increased incidence of enterococcal infections in the cefoxitin-treated patients. A single broad-spectrum antibiotic given for 24 hours perioperatively effectively controls SWI. Use of ampicillin/sulbactam results in a significantly lower SWI rate than use of cefoxitin, which may be a result of improved enterococcal and Bacteroides coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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