Experts issue urgent call to action for surgeons on antibiotic overuse

Overuse and misuse of antimicrobial agents is an urgent problem, and surgeons around the world, who often prescribe antibiotics for surgical prophylaxis, need to take a leadership role in the effort to promote antimicrobial stewardship (ASP). A team of experts from the Surgical Infection Society and the World Society of emergency Surgery has issued “A Call to Action for Surgeons,” published in Surgical Infections, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, publishers. Surgical Infections is the Official Journal of the Surgical Infection Society (SIS), SIS-Europe, SIS-Latin America, and the Chinese Society of Surgical Infection and Intensive Care. The article is available free online at the Surgical Infections website.

The article, entitled “Antimicrobial Stewardship: A Call to Action for Surgeons,” is coauthored by Massimo Sartelli, Macerata Hospital (Italy), and colleagues from John Peter Smith Health Network (Fort Worth, TX), Maggiore Hospital (Parma, Italy), Papa XXIII (Bergamo, Italy), University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston), UNIVPM (Ancona, Italy), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, TN), and Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO).

The authors emphasize the urgent need to standardize the use of antimicrobial agents in hospitals and for surgeons to take an active role in defining their role within ASPS. Approximately 15% of antibiotic prescribing in hospitals takes place prior to surgery to prevent infection. Surgeons need to promote and participate in ASP efforts in their institutions and to support multidisciplinary collaborations within the healthcare system.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” November 14-20, aims to improve the antibiotic prescribing habits of clinicians to help combat the rise of resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria.

“In addition to emerging resistance, the adverse events of decades of antibiotic use may have led to a number of other adverse consequences,” says Surgical Infections Editor-in-Chief Donald E. Fry, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Executive Vice-President MPA Healthcare Solutions, Chicago, IL, in the Editorial entitled “The Unintended Consequences of Antibiotic Use.”

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