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Urologia. 2010 Jan-Mar;77(1):4-12.

[Antibiotic prophylaxis in prostate biopsy].

[Article in Italian]

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Dipartimento di Medicina Interna Malattie Cardiovascolari e Nefrourologiche, Sezione di Urologia, Università degli Studi di Palermo.



Prostate biopsy is nowadays one of the most frequent diagnostic procedures in urology. The incidence of bacteraemia, bacteriuria and infective complications is higher after the transrectal procedure than after the transperineal one. A survey demonstrated that 98% of the urologists in USA use antibiotics to prevent infective complications. The transrectal prostate biopsy is the only diagnostic intervention procedure in urology for which an antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended, also for low-risk patients, by the guidelines of the European Association of Urology. If the perineal route is adopted, the antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended only in high-risk patients.


The patient should preferably receive an evacuative enema to achieve a rectal cleansing and to ameliorate the diagnostic accuracy of transrectal ultrasound. A survey in the US demonstrated that an evacuative enema with saline solution is adopted by more than 80% of urologists. Criteria for antibiotics choice. The majority of bacteraemias are transitory, asymptomatic and self-limiting. On the other side, bacteriuria can persist for several days. Antibiotics must achieve high drug concentrations not only in plasma and tissue but also in urine. Symptomatic infections are generally caused by E. Coli and less frequently by the Streptococcus faecalis. Nevertheless, other agents as Klebsiella and Chlostridium, although rare, might cause severe infections. Thus, prophylaxis needs antibiotics at large spectrum and a single agent may not be enough for high-risk patients. Risk determination and drug schedules. It is essential to point out the infective risk of the patient. The choice of the drug, the timing and schedule of antibiotic prophylaxis are still object of debate. Several randomized studies have been conducted with contradictory results.


The antibiotic prophylaxis should be tailored according to patients? infective risk and to the procedure adopted. It is able to reduce infections rate after transrectal biopsy below 5%. The adoption of periprostatic anesthesia and the number of cores can influence the incidence of infective complications. Commonly, one-three days oral administration of fluoroquinolone is adopted. A single-dose prophylaxis can be also used with favorable results. Tolerability and route of administration should be taken into account, and also costs should be considered.


Considering the low cost of antibiotics adopted as short-term prophylaxis and the high cost of the treatment of infective complications, it seems reasonable to provide antibiotics prophylaxis for all patients at high risk for infective complications and for all cases submitted to transrectal prostate biopsy.

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