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The use of prophylactic flucloxacillin in treatment of open fractures of the distal phalanx within an accident and emergency department: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Author(s): Stevenson J, McNaughton G, Riley J

Affiliation(s): Accident and Emergency Department, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, UK. james.stevenson@aaaht.scot.nhs.uk

Publication date & source: 2003-10, J Hand Surg [Br]., 28(5):388-94.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Open fractures of the distal phalanx commonly present to the Accident and Emergency Department. Controversy surrounds the use of prophylactic antibiotics in treating this injury. A double-blind, prospective, randomized placebo-controlled study was undertaken comparing the use of prophylactic flucloxacillin to placebo in addition to meticulous wound toilet. One hundred and ninety-three adult patients with an open fracture of the distal phalanx were studied. Seven patients developed superficial infections, an overall infection rate of 4%. No patient developed osteitis or a deep wound infection. There were three cases of infection in the 98 patients (3%) in the antibiotic group and four cases of infection in the 95 patients (4%) in the placebo group. A difference of proportion test confirmed no significant difference. It is concluded that the addition of prophylactic flucloxacillin to thorough wound toilet and careful soft-tissue repair of open fracture of the distal phalanx confers no benefit.

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