Thursday, September 24, 2009

Emergency department management of home intravenous antibiotic therapy for cellulitis

Emergency department management of home intravenous antibiotic therapy for cellulitis

Emergency Medicine Journal 2005;22:715-717; doi:10.1136/emj.2004.018143
© 2005 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and the
College of Emergency Medicine.

M Donald1, N Marlow2, E Swinburn1, M Wu3
1 Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia2 Northern Sydney Health, Sydney, Australia3 Mona Vale Hospital, Australia

Correspondence to:Correspondence to: Dr M J Donald Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leeward’s, Sydney, NSW, Australia;

Objectives: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of using intravenous cephazolin as a first line antibiotic for the treatment of cellulitis in a supervised outpatient programme.

This study was a retrospective analysis and included all patients who attended the emergency department (ED) of a university affiliated hospital in Sydney over the period of 1 year and who satisfied the following inclusion criteria: (a) age >16 years, (b) presented with acute cellulitis, and (c) were suitable for home intravenous antibiotic therapy according to APAC guidelines.

In total, 124 patients were included, of whom 53 (42.7%) presented directly to the ED and 71 (57.3%) were referred by their general practitioner. Of these 124 patients, 75 (60.5%) were men and 49 (39.5%) were women. Age range was 16–97 years. There were 82 (66.2%) presentations of cellulitis of the lower limb, 30 (24.2%) of the upper limb, 9 (7.2%) of the face and 3 (2.4%) of the torso. Cephazolin 2 g twice daily was given to 123 (99.2%) of the patients, and one patient (0.8%) received ceftriaxone 2 g once daily. In total, 105 patients (84.7%) were treated successfully and 19 (15.3%) were re-admitted. Four of the unsuccessful treatment group required incision and drainage of abscesses. The mean duration of intravenous therapy was 6.24 days. One patient developed diarrhoea. There were no other complications attributable to therapy.

Conclusion: Low re-admission rates verify the efficacy of cephazolin 2 g twice daily in treating cellulitis in the home environment. Benefits are multiple and include economic savings and reduced risk of nosocomial infection.

Abbreviations: APAC, Acute/Post Acute Care; ED, emergency department; HIH, hospital in the home

Keywords: Cellulitis; cephazolin; department; emergency

Ermergency Medicine Journal



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