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Clin Ther. 1982;5 Suppl A:83-96.

Cefotaxime, cefazolin, or ampicillin prophylaxis of febrile morbidity in emergency cesarean sections.


Cefotaxime, a new third-generation cephalosporin, was compared with ampicillin and cefazolin in a randomized double-blind trial to evaluate the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis of febrile morbidity associated with emergency cesarean sections. A 1-gm intravenous dose of one of the three antibiotics was given by bolus injection immediately after clamping of the umbilical cord and six and 12 hours later. All patients were in labor with membranes ruptured and had a temperature less than or equal to 37.8 C, and none had a history of penicillin or cephalosporin allergy. A total of 195 women were entered into the trial. Initially, the study included a placebo control group which was switched to ampicillin after 30 patients. Of the 188 evaluable patients, 51 of 59 (86.5%) ampicillin recipients, 59 of 67 (88.1%) cefazolin recipients, 48 of 55 (87.3%) cefotaxime recipients, and two of seven (28.5%) placebo recipients had uneventful postoperative courses. During the study, an additional 39 women who were in labor with ruptured membranes but who were allergic to penicillin or who declined antibiotic prophylaxis were classified as untreated patients and observed for postoperative complications. Standard febrile morbidity, primarily related to endometritis or wound infections, occurred in 6 of 59 (10.1%) ampicillin, 5 of 67 (7.5%) cefazolin, 5 of 55 (9.1%) cefotaxime, and 18 (40.0%) of placebo or untreated patients. Cefotaxime, cefazolin, and ampicillin were equally effective in reducing febrile morbidity in emergency cesarean sections.

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