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J Urol. 2018 Aug;200(2):361-368. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2018.03.078. Epub 2018 Mar 21.

Targeted Antimicrobial Prophylaxis Does Not Always Prevent Sepsis after Transrectal Prostate Biopsy.

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Department of Urology, University of California-Irvine, Irvine, California.
Department of Urology, University of Texas Health San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.
Department of Urology, Southern California Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, Irvine, California. Electronic address:



We compared the effectiveness of targeted prophylaxis to augmented empirical prophylaxis and single agent empirical prophylaxis to prevent sepsis after transrectal prostate biopsy.


We retrospectively reviewed the records of transrectal prostate biopsies performed during 3 years at 13 Southern California Kaiser PermanenteĀ® departments of urology. Targeted prophylaxis was guided by rectal culture bacterial susceptibility for use of a single prophylactic antibiotic while for empirical prophylaxis 1 antibiotic (single agent empirical prophylaxis) or multiple antibiotics (augmented empirical prophylaxis) were given according to the usual practice of the urologist. Sepsis was the primary outcome analyzed.


We reviewed 15,236 transrectal prostate biopsy cases. Targeted prophylaxis, single agent empirical prophylaxis and augmented empirical prophylaxis were administered in 26%, 58% and 16% of cases, respectively. The overall incidence of post-biopsy sepsis was 0.64%. On multivariable analysis there was no significant difference in the rate of post-biopsy sepsis after targeted prophylaxis compared to empirical prophylaxis (single agent and augmented empirical prophylaxis together) (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.53-1.41, p = 0.561). However, on subanalysis augmented empirical prophylaxis showed a significantly lower incidence of sepsis than single agent empirical or targeted prophylaxis (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.16-0.76, p = 0.008). Based on blood and urine cultures 38% of the patients with sepsis after transrectal prostate biopsy had been given the correct prophylactic antibiotic prior to biopsy. On multivariable analysis Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity was associated with a higher incidence of harboring fluoroquinolone resistant bacteria on rectal swab cultures.


This large retrospective study showed that augmented empirical prophylaxis was statistically superior to single agent empirical and targeted prophylaxis. Sepsis developed in a significant number of patients despite being given a prophylactic antibiotic to which the sepsis causing bacteria were sensitive.


antibiotic prophylaxis; bacterial; biopsy; drug resistance; fluoroquinolones; prostate

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