Antibiotic resistance threatening post-surgery recovery

London : A new study has quantified the threat of rising antibiotic resistance on surgery and chemotherapy.

Researchers have reported the strongest evidence yet that rising antibiotic resistance could have disastrous consequences for patients undergoing surgery or cancer chemotherapy. New estimates suggest that up to half of infections after surgery and over a quarter of infections after chemotherapy are caused by organisms already resistant to standard prophylactic antibiotics in the USA. Worryingly, the findings also predict that just a 30 percent reduction in the efficacy of preventive antibiotics given routinely before, during, or after these procedures could result in 120000 more infections and 6300 infection-related deaths every year in the USA.

Prophylactic antibiotics are given as standard practice to patients undergoing surgery and cancer treatment to prevent infection and death. Bacterial resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics is increasing at an alarming pace. But until now, the potential effect of rising antibiotic resistance on antibiotic prophylaxis efficacy in patients undergoing surgery and chemotherapy was not known. The authors found that between 39 percent (after caesarean section) and 50-90 percent (after transrectal prostate biopsy) of surgical site infections are caused by organisms that are resistant to recommended antibiotic prophylactic regimens. Additionally, just over a quarter (27 percent) of infections after blood cancer chemotherapy are resistant to standard antibiotics.

According to researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, this is the first study to estimate the impact of antibiotic resistance on broader medical care in the United States. A lot of common surgical procedures and cancer chemotherapy will be virtually impossible if antibiotic resistance is not tackled urgently. He added “Not only is there an immediate need for up-to-date information to establish how antibiotic prophylaxis recommendations should be modified in the face of increasing resistance, but we also need new strategies for the prevention and control of antibiotic resistance at national and international levels.” The study appears in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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