Less is more? Antibiotic duration and outcomes in Fournier’s gangrene

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Antibiotic management of Fournier’s gangrene (FG) is without evidence-based guidelines and is based on expert opinion. The effect of duration of antibiotic therapy on outcomes in FG is unknown.

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed of FG patients from 2012 to 2015 at a single institution. Patients were managed by our institutional practice of complete primary wound closure as possible, with antibiotic duration according to physician judgment. Patients were stratified into multiple durations of antibiotic administration.

RESULTS

Overall, 168 patients with FG were included. When examining multiple stratifications of antibiotic therapy of 7 days or less, 8 days to 10 days, 11 days to 14 days, or 15 days or more of antibiotics, there was no significant difference in mortality (p = 0.11), primary closure (p = 0.75), surgical site infection (SSI) (p = 0.52), or Clostridium difficile infection (p = 0.63). There were no cases of recurrent FG in any antibiotic stratification. Mortality was not increased (p = 1.00) and ability to achieve primary closure was not decreased (p = 0.08) with initial antibiotic therapy exclusive of cultured organisms.

CONCLUSION

Shorter antibiotic courses for patients in whom source control is obtained and initial antibiotic selection exclusive of many resistant organisms were not associated with worse outcomes in FG.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE

Therapeutic, level IV.

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