Antibiotic prescribing in patients who presented to the emergency department with dog bites: A descriptive review of current practice

Megan Baxter, Kerina J. Denny, Gerben Keijzers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: 

To describe the current practice of prophylactic antibiotic prescribing for patients presenting to the ED with a dog bite, and compare management against existing guidelines. 

Methods: 

We performed a descriptive retrospective study on all consecutive patients who presented to one tertiary teaching hospital and one regional district hospital in Southeast Queensland between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 with a presentation of a dog bite. Data on demographics and management were collected from the electronic medical record using a standardised data collection tool. Risk factors supporting prophylaxis were taken from the electronic Therapeutic Guidelines. 

Results: 

Of the 336 patients included for analysis, 299 received antibiotics, of which 23 were for established infection. A total of 276 (82% of overall cohort) received a prescription for prophylactic antibiotics, either in hospital (ED or admitting ward) and/or on discharge. Of the 178 patients who received prophylactic antibiotics in hospital, 91 (51.1%) received intravenous antibiotics. Of the patients who presented to ED without a previously established infection 271 (86.6%) received prophylactic antibiotics on discharge. Over one quarter (27.5%) of patients who were given prophylactic antibiotics did not meet any high-risk factors as outlined in guidelines. 

Conclusion: 

Prophylactic antibiotics are extensively used for patients with dog bites. There is scope to rationalise antibiotic use and route of antibiotic administration in patients with dog bites.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2020

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