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The role of oral antibiotic preparation in elective colorectal surgery: a meta-analysis

Rollins, Katie E.; Javanmard-Emamghissi, Hannah; Acheson, Austin G.; Lobo, Dileep N.

The role of oral antibiotic preparation in elective colorectal surgery: a meta-analysis Thumbnail


Katie E. Rollins

Hannah Javanmard-Emamghissi

Clinical Associate Professor

Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery


© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Objectives:To compare the impact of the use of oral antibiotics (OAB) with or without mechanical bowel preparation (MBP) on outcome in elective colorectal surgery.Summary Background Data:Meta-analyses have demonstrated that MBP does not impact upon postoperative morbidity or mortality, and as such it should not be prescribed routinely. However, recent evidence from large retrospective cohort and database studies has suggested that there may be a role for combined OAB and MBP, or OAB alone in the prevention of surgical site infection (SSI).Methods:A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and cohort studies including adult patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery, receiving OAB with or without MBP was performed. The outcome measures examined were SSI, anastomotic leak, 30-day mortality, overall morbidity, development of ileus, reoperation and Clostridium difficile infection.Results:A total of 40 studies with 69,517 patients (28 randomized controlled trials, n = 6437 and 12 cohort studies, n = 63,080) were included. The combination of MBP+OAB versus MBP alone was associated with a significant reduction in SSI [risk ratio (RR) 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46-0.56, P < 0.00001, I2 = 13%], anastomotic leak (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.55-0.70, P < 0.00001, I2 = 0%), 30-day mortality (RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.44-0.76, P < 0.0001, I2 = 0%), overall morbidity (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.63-0.71, P < 0.00001, I2 = 0%), and development of ileus (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.52-0.98, P = 0.04, I2 = 36%), with no difference in Clostridium difficile infection rates. When a combination of MBP+OAB was compared with OAB alone, no significant difference was seen in SSI or anastomotic leak rates, but there was a significant reduction in 30-day mortality, and incidence of postoperative ileus with the combination. There is minimal literature available on the comparison between combined MBP+OAB versus no preparation, OAB alone versus no preparation, and OAB versus MBP.Conclusions:Current evidence suggests a potentially significant role for OAB preparation, either in combination with MBP or alone, in the prevention of postoperative complications in elective colorectal surgery. Further high-quality evidence is required to differentiate between the benefits of combined MBP+OAB or OAB alone.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 4, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 3, 2018
Publication Date Jul 1, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 13, 2019
Journal Annals of Surgery
Print ISSN 0003-4932
Electronic ISSN 1528-1140
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 270
Issue 1
Pages 43-58
Keywords Oral antibiotics; Mechanical bowel preparation; Colorectal; Surgery; Surgical site infection; Anastomotic leak
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