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Comparative study of cefazolin, cefamandole, and vancomycin for surgical prophylaxis in cardiac and vascular operations. A double-blind randomized trial.

Author(s): Maki DG, Bohn MJ, Stolz SM, Kroncke GM, Acher CW, Myerowitz PD

Affiliation(s): Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.

Publication date & source: 1992-11, J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg., 104(5):1423-34.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

Three-hundred twenty-one adults undergoing cardiac or major vascular operations were randomized to receive intravenous cefazolin, cefamandole, or vancomycin for prophylaxis against surgical infection in a double-blind trial. All three regimens provided therapeutic blood levels throughout operation in patients studied undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass. The prevalence of surgical wound infection was lowest with vancomycin (4 infections [3.7%] versus 14 [12.3%] and 13 [11.5%] in the cefazolin and cefamandole groups, respectively; p = 0.05); there were no thoracic wound infections in cardiac operations in the vancomycin group (p = 0.04). The mean duration of postoperative hospitalization was lowest in the vancomycin group (10.1 days; p < 0.01) and highest in the cefazolin group (12.9 days). Prophylaxis with vancomycin or cefamandole, compared with cefazolin, did not prevent nosocomial cutaneous colonization by methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci; colonization or infection with vancomycin-resistant staphylococci or enterococci was not detected. Adverse effects attributable to the prophylactic regimen were infrequent in all three groups. Eight patients given vancomycin became hypotensive during administration of a dose, despite infusion during a 1-hour period; however, slowing the rate of administration and pretreating with diphenhydramine allowed vancomycin to be resumed and prophylaxis completed uneventfully in five of the patients. We conclude that administration of vancomycin (approximately 15 mg/kg), immediately preoperatively, provides therapeutic blood levels for surgical prophylaxis throughout most cardiac and vascular operations, resulting in protection against postoperative infection superior to that obtained with cefazolin or cefamandole. Vancomycin deserves consideration for inclusion in the prophylactic regimen (1) for prosthetic valve replacement and prosthetic vascular graft implantation, to reduce the risk of implant infection by methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci and enterococci; (2) for any cardiovascular operation if the patient has recently received broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy; and (3) for all cardiovascular operations in centers with a high prevalence of surgical infection with methicillin-resistant staphylococci or enterococci. Guidelines for dosing and administration of vancomycin for cardiovascular surgical prophylaxis are provided.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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