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Home Industry News Penicillin allergy linked to surgical site infections

Penicillin allergy linked to surgical site infections

9th October 2017

Surgical patients with a penicillin allergy are much more likely to develop surgical site infections than those with no documented allergy, new research has found.

According to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the risk of infection is 50 percent higher in patients with a recorded penicillin allergy.

This difference can be attributed to the alternative antibiotics that are used to prevent these infections.

Dr Kimberly Blumenthal, one of the researchers behind the study, said the findings have "direct clinical significance".

"We already know that more than 95 percent of patients who believe they have penicillin allergy can actually tolerate the drug," she noted.

Dr Blumenthal said this suggests that preoperative penicillin evaluation could effectively reduce surgical site infections in these patients.

Dr Erica Shenoy, another member of the research team, added that any patients with a history of allergy to penicillin or to cephalosporins – the antibiotic class that includes cefazolin – who are scheduled for surgery should ask their doctor if an antibiotic is required.

She believes that if this is the case, they should discuss a referral for an allergy evaluation in advance to increase their chances of getting the most effective antibiotic.

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