The role of screening and antibiotic prophylaxis in the prevention of percutaneous gastrostomy site infection caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

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Peristomal wound infections are common complications of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), especially in hospitals where methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is endemic. Evidence suggests that antibiotic prophylaxis at PEG insertion may reduce infection rates.


To examine rates of peristomal MRSA infection before and after introduction of a screening, decontamination and antibiotic prophylaxis protocol.


Retrospective case analysis detected new peristomal MRSA infections over a 33-month period. Prospectively from October 2004, patients requiring PEG were screened and, if MRSA positive, received decontamination (5 days) and prophylactic teicoplanin before insertion. Peristomal wound sites were monitored after insertion.


Peristomal MRSA infection was identified in 5/42 patients (12%) in 2002, 7/35 (20%) in 2003 and 7/24 (29%) in 2004 – overall infection rate 19%. Of 47 patients undergoing new PEG insertions between October 2004 and August 2006 (four known MRSA and 10 identified by screening), one (2%) developed peristomal MRSA infection 14 days postprocedure. A significant reduction in MRSA peristomal infection has been demonstrated (P < 0.01).


Screening for MRSA before PEG insertion identifies MRSA colonization and subsequent decontamination and antibiotic prophylaxis reduces peristomal MRSA infection rates. Where MRSA is endemic, the risk of wound site infection may remain postprocedure unless high standards of wound care are maintained.

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