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Radiat Res. 1988 Jul;115(1):1-25.

Use of antibiotics in the management of postirradiation wound infection and sepsis.

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  • 1Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-5145.


Ionizing gamma irradiation depresses the host defenses and enhances the susceptibility of the immunocompromised host to local and systemic infection due to endogenous or exogenous microorganisms. Trauma and wounding act synergistically and decrease the survival after exposure to irradiation. The current antimicrobial agents suitable for controlling serious infections and their use in post irradiation local and systemic infection with and without trauma are discussed. The experience gained in managing immunocompromised patients following chemotherapy is reviewed. Empiric single agent or combination agent therapy should be directed at the eradication of potential gram-negative as well as gram-positive pathogens. The most important organisms known to cause these infections are Pseudomonas sp. and Enterobacteriaceae. Management of intra-abdominal infections following trauma should include early surgical correlation and antimicrobials directed against the Bacteroides fragilis group and Enterobacteriaceae. Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes cause most skin and soft tissue infections following trauma. Chemoprophylaxis of enteric sources of systemic infection can be achieved by antimicrobials that selectively inhibit the Enterobacteriaceae sp. and preserve the anaerobic flora. The management of infection in the injured and irradiated host includes supportive and restorative therapy. Supportive therapy includes d├ębridement and cleansing of wounds, fluids, immunoglobulin, and antimicrobials. Restorative therapy includes definite surgery repair and replenishment of the immune system by use of immunomodulators, growth factors, and bone marrow transplantation. Further studies are needed to examine the usefulness of presently available drugs and experimental agents in the irradiated and traumatized host.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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