Recent Anti-Microbial Exposure Is Associated with More Complications after Elective Surgery

Christopher A. Guidry*, Puja M. Shah, Zachary C. Dietch, Nathan R. Elwood, Elizabeth D. Krebs, J. Hunter Mehaffey, Robert G. Sawyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Recent anti-microbial exposure has been associated with poor outcomes after infection in a mixed population. We hypothesized that recent anti-microbial exposure would be associated with poor outcomes of elective surgery. Methods: From August 2015 to August 2016, all elective surgical patients were questioned prospectively about anti-microbial exposure during the prior three months. Multivariable models were used to calculate risk-adjusted odds ratios for anti-microbial exposure controlling for surgeon influence. Primary outcomes were any serious complication, any complication, any infection, and surgical site infection. Secondary outcomes were length of stay, C. difficile infection, and death. A separate analysis of patients excluding those having colorectal surgery who had undergone an oral antibiotic bowel preparation also was performed. Results: Ninety-four percent of eligible patients (n = 1,538) answered the exposure question, with a three-month anti-microbial exposure rate of 34.1%. Colorectal surgery patients had the highest exposure rate, whereas hernia patients had the lowest. Exposed patients had higher rates of any complication, any infection, and surgical site infection, as well as a median two-day longer hospital stay. There were no differences in C. difficile infection or death between the groups. After risk adjustment, anti-microbial exposure was independently associated with any serious complication for all patients as well as with complications and infection in patients having an operation other than colorectal surgery. Conclusion: Recent anti-microbial exposure is associated with more complications of elective surgery. Anti-microbial drug-induced alterations in microbiome-related inflammatory responses may play a role, highlighting an opportunity for pre-surgical intervention in this at-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-479
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • antimicrobials
  • exposure
  • outcome
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Surgery


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