Empirical Antibiotic Treatment in Diabetic Foot Infection: A Study Focusing on the Culture and Antibiotic Sensitivity in a Population From Southern China

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Diabetic foot and subsequent diabetic ulcer infections are the most devastating complication of diabetes. This study was conducted to explore the bacterial spectrum, sensitivity of microbials, and analysis of the empirical antibiotic regimens in our health center. The study included patients with diabetic foot ulcer infection (DFI) seen from 2009 to 2014. The patients included had all information covering the physical examination, laboratory tests, and image examinations. We sent appropriately obtained specimens for culture prior to starting empirical antibiotic therapy in all participants. A total of 312 patients were included: 52, 112, 95 and 53 patients within uninfected, mild, moderate, and severe infection groups. The total percentages of Gram-positive cocci (GPCs) and Gram-negative rods (GNRs) were 54% and 48.8% (P = 0.63). The most common GPC was Staphylococcus aureus (22.4%) and GNR was Pseudomonas aeruginosa (11.9%). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 21 patients (6.7%). Even in the mild infection group, there was no significant difference between GPC and GNR infection, irrespective of recent antibiotic use (P = 0.053). The most frequently used empirical antibiotics in our center were second-/third-generation cephalosporin ± clindamycin, both in the mild and moderate/severe infection groups. In our center, the amoxicillin/clavulanate or ampicillin/sulbactam (β-L-ase 1) and second-/third-generation cephalosporins were highly resistant to the common GNR (30%-60%). The ticarcillin/clavulanate, piperacillin/tazuobactam (β-L-ase 2), fluoroquinolone, and group 2 carbapenem had good sensitivity. This study presents a comprehensive microbiological survey of diabetic foot ulcers in inpatients and provides reliable evidence of the local microbial epidemiology and sensitivity of antibiotics, which may help us improve clinical outcomes in DFI patients.

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