Systematic review of the literature and evidence-based recommendations for antibiotic prophylaxis in Trauma: Results from an italian consensus of experts

Daniele Poole, Arturo Chieregato, Martin Langer, Bruno Viaggi, Emiliano Cingolani, Paolo Malacarne, Francesca Mengoli, Giuseppe Nardi, Ennio Nascimben, Luigi Riccioni, Ilaria Turriziani, Annalisa Volpi, Carlo Coniglio, Giovanni Gordini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Antibiotic prophylaxis is frequently administered in severe trauma. However, the risk of selecting resistant bacteria, a major issue especially in critical care environments, has not been sufficiently investigated. The aim of the present study was to provide guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis for four different trauma-related clinical conditions, taking into account the risks of antibiotic-resistant bacteria selection, thus innovating previous guidelines in the field.

Methods: The MEDLINE database was searched for studies comparing antibiotic prophylaxis to controls (placebo or no antibiotic administration) in four clinical traumatic conditions that were selected on the basis of the traumatic event frequency and/or infection severity. The selected studies focused on the prevention of early ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) in comatose patients with traumatic brain injury, of meningitis in severe basilar skull fractures, of wound infections in long-bone open fractures. Since no placebo-controlled study was available for deep surgical site-infections prevention in abdominal trauma with enteric contamination, we compared 24-hour and 5-day antibiotic prophylaxis policies. A separate specific research focused on the question of antibiotic-resistant bacteria selection caused by antibiotic prophylaxis, an issue not adequately investigated by the selected studies. Randomised trials, reviews, meta-analyses, observational studies were included. Data extraction was carried out by one author according to a predefined protocol, using an electronic form. The strength of evidence was stratified and recommendations were given according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria.

Results: Uncertain evidence deserving further studies was found for two-dose antibiotic prophylaxis for early VAP prevention in comatose patients. In the other cases the risk of resistant-bacteria selection caused by antibiotic administration for 48 hours or more, outweighed potential benefits.

Conclusions: When accounting for antibiotic-resistant bacteria selection we found no evidence in favour of antibiotic prophylaxis lasting two or more days in the studied clinical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0113676
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 20 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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