Original Article

Variation in Use of Prophylactic Antibiotics in Gynecologic Procedures Before and After an Educational Intervention

Authors: Emily Wu, MD, Jessica Langsjoen, MD, Jessica Pruszynski, PhD, Thomas J. Kuehl, PhD, Wilma I. Larsen, MD


Objectives: Guidelines for use of prophylactic antibiotics in gynecologic procedures are outlined by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. There remains, however, a high rate of unindicated administration of antibiotics for surgeries. A retrospective study performed at our institution in 2012–2013 demonstrated that unindicated prophylactic antibiotics were administered over half the time. This study aimed to examine variations in the use of prophylactic antibiotics in patients undergoing gynecologic surgery at Scott and White Memorial Hospital and determine whether an educational intervention to gynecology physicians was associated with a significant decrease in unindicated prophylactic antibiotics.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed for all women undergoing gynecologic surgery at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas for 1 year. An educational intervention regarding prophylactic antibiotic usage was held for obstetricians and gynecologists in the middle of that year. Subjects were included if they had procedures with a Current Procedural Terminology code corresponding to a procedure that does not require prophylactic antibiotics. Subjects were excluded if they had concurrent procedures for which antibiotics are recommended.

Results: A total of 500 subjects met inclusion and exclusion criteria, with 243 before the educational intervention and 257 after the intervention. In our study, a significant decrease (P < 0.0001) in unindicated prophylactic antibiotic use was demonstrated: from 45.7% (111/243) preintervention to 24.9% (64/257) postintervention. Before the educational intervention, both the gynecology oncology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility divisions had the highest rates of unindicated antibiotic use—91.7% (44/48) and 91.7% (33/36), respectively. The generalist and urogynecology divisions had the lowest rates for specialists before the intervention: 20.6% (30/146) and 30.8% (4/13), respectively. After the intervention, all of the divisions demonstrated an improvement in their rates of unindicated prophylactic antibiotic use. The urogynecology division demonstrated an improvement that can be considered clinically significant while not meeting statistical significance. The adverse event rates were not different between subjects who received preoperative prophylactic antibiotics (2.9%) and subjects who did not (2.8%).

Conclusions: A simple educational intervention was associated with a significant decrease in unindicated prophylactic antibiotics in gynecologic procedures.

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