Original Article

Prophylactic Antibiotics in Necrotizing Pancreatitis: A Meta-analysis

Authors: Phil A. Hart, MD, Matthew L. Bechtold, MD, John B. Marshall, MD, Abhishek Choudhary, MD, Srinivas R. Puli, MD, Praveen K. Roy, MD


Purpose: Prophylactic antibiotics have been used in acute necrotizing pancreatitis with mixed results. This meta-analysis analyzes the effects of prophylactic antibiotics in necrotizing pancreatitis.

Methods: Multiple databases and abstracts were searched for randomized trials comparing treatment with prophylactic antibiotics to treatment without prophylactic antibiotics in necrotizing pancreatitis. Prophylactic antibiotics’ effects were analyzed by calculating pooled estimates of mortality, infected pancreatic necrosis, length of hospital stay, nonpancreatic infections, and surgical intervention.

Results: Seven studies (n = 429) met the inclusion criteria. Prophylactic antibiotics for acute necrotizing pancreatitis significantly decreased the length of hospital stay (P = 0.04) and the rate of nonpancreatic infections (P < 0.01). No significant differences were noted for mortality (P = 0.22), infected necrosis (P = 0.18), and surgical intervention (P = 0.40).

Conclusions: Prophylactic antibiotics in necrotizing pancreatitis reduced the length of hospital stay and rate of nonpancreatic infections but did not decrease mortality, infected necrosis, or surgical intervention.

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