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Timing of prophylactic antibiotics crucial to cutting child infection risk

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Timing of prophylactic antibiotics is crucial to reducing risk of serious infection in children.

Giving children prophylactic antibiotics an hour before they undergo spinal surgery significantly reduces the risk of serious infection, say US researchers.

The team from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre in Baltimore, Maryland, reviewed almost 1,000 cases of spinal fusion surgery in children.

Over six years, they found 36 deep surgical site infections (SSIs). More serious than superficial skin infections, SSIs can cause serious complications and require aggressive treatment, including additional surgery and long-term antibiotics, and increase length of hospital stay.

Of the 36 cases, 28% received prophylactic antibiotics outside the ‘golden one-hour window’, making them three and a half times more likely to develop serious infection at the surgical site, the researchers said.

‘All paediatric patients undergoing paediatric spinal fusion should have preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis within 60 minutes before incision to reduce the risk of SSI,’ th authors said.

The full study will be published in the August edition of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

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