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Spanish research on liver transplantation infection risk


6 June, 2008  

Researchers in Spain have found that nearly 9% of patients who recently underwent liver transplantation suffered a surgical site infection (SSI) as a result.

The study, published in this month’s edition of the journal Liver Transplantation, included 1,222 consecutive patients who received liver transplants in 11 Spanish hospitals between August 2003 and September 2005.

SSIs occurred in just under 9% of patients, most within the first few weeks after the operation, and approximately 10% of these cases proved fatal.

Infection following surgery is common in liver transplantation due to the technical complexity of the procedure, the frequently poor medical condition of patients, and the fact that it occurs within a potentially infected body area. As a result, they often cause morbidity and mortality.

The researchers found that most infections were caused by gram-negative aerobic bacteria usually resident in the digestive tract, with fungal infections in a minority of cases. The risk of infection was related to the choice of antibiotic prophylaxis, they found.

The study authors concluded that to reduce incidence of SSIs antibiotic prophylaxis be routine in liver transplant procedures and that randomised trials be carried out to determine the best available regimen.

Liver Transplantation