Antibiotic therapy for preventing infections in patients with acute stroke

WF Westendorp, JD Vermeij, F Vermeij, HM den Hertog, Diederik Dippel, PJ Nederkoorn, D van de Beek

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71 Citations (Scopus)


Background Stroke is the main cause of disability in high income countries and ranks second as a cause of death worldwide. Infections occur frequently after stroke and may adversely affect outcome. Preventive antibiotic therapy in the acute phase of stroke may reduce infections and improve outcome. Objectives 1. To assess whether preventive antibiotic therapy in patients with acute stroke reduces the risk of dependency and death at follow-up. 2. To assess whether preventive antibiotic therapy in patients with acute stroke reduces infection rate. Search methods We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group's Trials Register (October 2010); The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3); MEDLINE (1950 to October 2010) and EMBASE (1980 to October 2010). In an effort to identify further published, unpublished and ongoing trials we searched trials and research registers, scanned reference lists and contacted authors, colleagues and researchers in the field. Selection criteria Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of preventive antibiotic therapy versus control (placebo or open control) in patients with acute ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke. Data collection and analysis Two authors independently selected articles and performed data extraction; we discussed and resolved discrepancies in a consensus meeting with a third observer. We contacted the study authors to obtain missing data when required. An independent observer assessed methodological quality. We calculated relative risks (RRs) for dichotomous outcomes, assessed heterogeneity amongst included studies and performed subgroup analyses on study quality. Main results We included five studies involving 506 patients. Study population, study design, type of antibiotic and definition of infection differed considerably. The number of patients who died in the preventive antibiotic group was non-significantly reduced (33/248 (13%) versus 38/258 (15%), RR 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.47 to 1.51); the number of dependent patients in the preventive antibiotic therapy group was also non-significantly reduced (97/208 (47%) versus 127/208 (61%), RR 0.67, 95% CI 0 Authors' conclusions In this meta-analysis, preventive antibiotic therapy seemed to reduce the risk of infection, but did not reduce the number of dependent or deceased patients. However, the included studies were small and heterogeneous. Large randomised trials are urgently needed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalCochrane Database Systematics Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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