Episode 41: Scratch the Gent! Antibiotics for Open Fractures with Rob O’Connell

  • Why this topic important?
    • Accidental injury is the most common cause of death in the United States in individuals between the ages of 1 and 45
    • Falls are the most common reasons for hospital admissions in this older age group and account for 87% of fractures.
    • Open fractures are high-energy injuries with an increased risk of infection due to potential exposure of bone and deep tissue to a variety of environmental debris.
  • What is the Gustilo and Anderson classification of open fractures?
    • Definition: a grading system that offered prognostic information about the outcome of infected fractures created by Gustilo and Anderson in 1976 described their treatment of 1025 open fractures.  
    • Grade I: Wound less than 1 cm long, punctured from below.
    • Grade II: Laceration 5 cm long; no contamination or crush; no excessive soft tissue loss, flaps, or avulsion
    • Grade III: Large laceration, associated contamination or crush; frequently includes a segmental fracture.
      • IIIA: Involves extensive soft tissue stripping of bone
      • IIIB: Periosteal stripping has occurred
      • IIIC: Major vascular injury present
  • Infection rates for open fractures
    • Type 1
      •  0-2% risk of developing an infection
    • Type II
      •  2-12% risk of developing an infection
    • Type III
      • 10-50%   risk of developing an infection                 
  • What does the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) guidelines recommend for grade 1, 2, and 3 open fractures?
    • Systemic antibiotic coverage directed at gram-positive organisms should be initiated as soon as possible after injury.
    • Additional gram-negative coverage should be added for type III fractures.
    • High-dose penicillin should be added in the presence of fecal or potential clostridial contamination (e.g., farm-related injuries).
    • In type III fractures, antibiotics should be continued for 72 hours after injury or not 24 hours after soft tissue coverage has been achieved.
    • Once-daily aminoglycoside dosing is safe and effective for types II and III fractures.
  • What pharmacologic agents can we use for Grade 1+2 open fractures
    • Preferred: Cefazolin 2 g (3 g if > 120 kg) IV q8h
    • Clindamycin 900 mg IV q8h
    • Known MRSA colonization: Add vancomycin 15 mg/kg IV q12h
    • Duration of prophylaxis: 24 hours
  • What pharmacologic agents can we use for Grade 3 open fractures
    • Preferred: Ceftriaxone 2g q24 x 2 days
      • Based on a study by Rodrigeuz et al in 2014 that reported significantly decreased use of aminoglycoside and glycopeptide antibiotics with no increase in skin and soft tissue infection rates.
    • Severe beta-lactam allergy: Clindamycin 900 mg IV q8h + levofloxacin 500 mg IV q24h
  • Is there additional coverage for contamination with soil or fecal material?
    • Ceftriaxone 2 g IV q24h + metronidazole 500 mg IV q8h
    • Severe Beta-lactam allergy: Levofloxacin 500 mg IV q24h + metronidazole 500 mg IV q8h
  • Is there additional coverage for contamination with standing water:
    • Preferred: Zosyn 4.5 g q8
    •  Severe beta-lactam allergy: Levofloxacin + Flagyl
    • When should we give Td/Tdap for open fractures?
      • >10 years clean wound
      • >5  years dirty wound
  • Do studies show that having EM PharmDs involved helped with the antibiotic selection
    • Harvey et al. Impact of an emergency medicine pharmacist on initial antibiotic prophylaxis for open fractures in trauma patients. Am J Emerg Med. 2018 Feb;36(2):290-293.
      • P: 146 Trauma patients with open fractures at Level 2 trauma center in Lakeland FL
      • I: Pharmacist participating during trauma resuscitation
      • C: Prior time without pharmacists’ involvement in trauma resuscitation
      • O: More patient’s initial antibiotic prophylaxis was in accordance with the EAST guideline recommendations with a PharmD compared to none.
        • 81% versus 47%  Pharm vs no-pharmacist present (p < 0.01)
      • Median door-to antibiotic time was 14 mins

References via QxMD Read


Jimmy L. Pruitt III, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP

The Pharm So Hard Podcast is a show focused primarily on emergency medicine and hospital pharmacy related topics. To empower healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills they need to provide evidence-based, safe care for critically ill patients.

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