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Stroke. 2005 Jul;36(7):1495-500. Epub 2005 Jun 16.

The Early Systemic Prophylaxis of Infection After Stroke study: a randomized clinical trial.

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  • 1Stroke Unit, Hospital Clínic, and Institut d' Investigacions Biomédiques August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain.



Early infection after stroke is frequent but the clinical value of antibiotic prophylaxis in acute stroke has never been explored.


The Early Systemic Prophylaxis of Infection After Stroke (ESPIAS) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of antibiotic prophylaxis in patients older than 18 years with nonseptic ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke enrolled within 24 hours from clinical onset. Interventions included intravenous levofloxacin (500 mg/100 mL/d, for 3 days) or placebo (0.9% physiological serum) in addition to optimal care. A sample size of 240 patients was calculated to identify a 15% absolute risk reduction of the primary outcome measure, which was the incidence of infection at day 7 after stroke. Secondary outcome measures were neurological outcome and mortality at day 90.


Based on a preplanned futility analysis, the study was interrupted prematurely when 136 patients had been included. Levofloxacin and placebo patients had a cumulative rate of infection of 6% and 6% (P=0.96) at day 1; 10% and 12% (P=0.83) at day 2; 12% and 15% (P=0.66) at day 3; 16% and 19% (P=0.82) at day 7; and 30% and 33% (P=0.70), at day 90. Using logistic regression, favorable outcome at day 90 was inversely associated with baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.89; P=0.002) and allocation to levofloxacin (OR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.87; P=0.03).


Prophylactic administration of levofloxacin (500 mg/100 mL/day for 3 days) is not better than optimal care for the prevention of infections in patients with acute stroke.

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