Death from infected necrosis in acute pancreatitis is common. Prevention generally focuses on prophylactic antibiotics.
In this study, Drs Mazaki, Ishii and Takayama assessed the effectiveness of prophylactic antibiotics in reducing infected necrosis and death.
The team performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
From a search of Medline, Web of Science, the Cochrane controlled trials register and international conference proceedings 328 studies were identified. Of these, 6 were suitable for inclusion.
The primary outcome measures were infected necrosis and death.
While the secondary outcome measures were non-pancreatic infections, surgical intervention and length of hospital stay.
The team found that antibiotic use was not associated with a reduction in infected necrosis (RR 0•77), mortality (RR 0•78), non-pancreatic infections (RR 0•71) or surgical intervention (RR 0•78).
However, it was associated with a reduction length of hospital stay.
Dr Mazaki's team concluded, "Prophylactic antibiotics do not prevent infected necrosis or death in acute necrotizing pancreatitis".