Antimicrobial Prophylaxis with Combat-Related Open Soft-Tissue Injuries

The Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: All Department of Defense (DoD) guidance documents recommend cefazolin or clindamycin as post-trauma antibiotic prophylaxis for open soft-tissue injuries. Although not advocated, some patients with open soft-tissue injuries also received expanded Gram-negative coverage (EGN) prophylaxis based on the judgment of front-line trauma providers. During the study period, revised guidelines in 2011/2012 re-emphasized recommendations for using cefazolin or clindamycin, and stewardship efforts in the DoD trauma community aimed to reduce the practice of adding EGN to guideline-recommended antibiotic prophylaxis. Our objective was to examine antibiotic utilization among wounded military personnel with open extremity soft-tissue injuries over a 5-yr period and assess the impact on infectious outcomes in patients who received EGN prophylaxis versus guideline-directed prophylaxis. Methods: The study population included military personnel with open extremity soft-tissue injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan (2009-2014) who transferred to participating hospitals in the USA following medical evacuation. The analysis was restricted to patients who were hospitalized for at least seven days at a U.S. facility and excluded those who sustained open fractures. Post-trauma antibiotic prophylactic regimens were defined as narrow if they followed recommended guidance (e.g., IV cefazolin or clindamycin) or EGN coverage when the narrow regimen also included fluoroquinolones and/or aminoglycosides. Intravenous amoxicillin-clavulanate, which is commonly used at non-U.S. coalition theater hospitals, was also classified as narrow because it conformed to coalition antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines. This study was approved by the Infectious Disease Institutional Review Board of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Results: A total of 287 wounded personnel with open soft-tissue injuries were assessed, of which 212 (74%) received narrow prophylaxis and 75 (26%) received EGN coverage (p < 0.001). Among patients in the narrow prophylaxis group, 81% were given cefazolin and/or clindamycin, while 19% received amoxicillin-clavulanate. In the EGN group, 88% and 12% received a fluoroquinolone and aminoglycoside, respectively. Use of EGN coverage significantly declined during the study period from 39% in 2009-2010 to 11% in 2013-2014 (p < 0.001). Approximately 3% of patients who received a narrow regimen developed an extremity skin and soft-tissue infection, while there were no skin and soft-tissue infections among patients in the EGN coverage group. Nonetheless, this was not a significant difference (p = 0.345). In addition, the proportion of non-extremity infections was not significantly different between narrow and EGN regimen groups (11% and 15%, respectively). There were also no significant differences between the narrow and EGN regimen groups related to duration of hospitalization (median of 19 versus 20 d). Conclusion: Use of non-guideline directed EGNbased post-trauma antibiotic prophylaxis does not improve infectious outcomes nor does it shorten hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E260-E265
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018


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