Original communication| Volume 81, ISSUE 4, P473-477, April 1977

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Selecting patients requiring antibiotics in biliary surgery by immediate gram stains of bile at operation

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      The value of selecting patients for antibiotic cover during biliary surgery by the use of immediate gram stains of bile was determined in a nonrandomized prospective study which compared two groups of patients. Group A consisted of 119 consecutive patients in whom antibiotics were administered during operation according to the results of immediate gram stains on bile. Group B included 101 patients, none of whom received antibiotics. In Group A gentamicin was given for gram-negative bacteria, ampicillin for gram-positive organisms, and no antibiotics were given if no bacteria were seen on the gram stain. In Group A the incidence of wound sepsis was 7 percent, compared with 22 percent in Group B (p < 0.005). Septicemia occured in 2 percent of Group A, compared with 8 percent in Group B. It is concluded that immediate gram stains of bile will provide a means of selecting patients requiring antibiotic cover during biliary surgery; furthermore, this procedure is a practical way of reducing postoperative sepsis while avoiding unnecessary antibiotic administration.
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