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Comparison of serum and tissue antibiotic levels in diabetes-related foot infections. Surgery 1991 Oct;110(4):671-6; discussion 676-7



Pubmed ID


Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0025952746   39 Citations


Parenteral antibiotics are used as an adjunct to amputation or operative debridement for patients with diabetes who require emergency surgery for a septic foot. In 26 patients with a diabetes-related foot infection, one dose of various intravenous antibiotic regimens (gentamicin and clindamycin, ticarcillin/clavulanate, ampicillin/sulbactam) was administered during the hour before the procedure, and assays were performed to measure the antibiotic serum and tissue levels at the time of surgical debridement. Aerobic and anaerobic cultures were performed on infected tissue. The 172 bacterial isolates, including 95 aerobes and 77 anaerobes, (6.6 isolates per patient) underwent antibiotic susceptibility testing. Antibiotic levels were calculated by biologic assay from serum and tissue biopsies from the viable margins of the surgical site, which subsequently healed primarily or supported a split-thickness skin graft. Sixteen of the patients achieved therapeutic serum levels, and therapeutic tissue levels were reached in six patients at the time of surgery. A significantly lower number of patients had therapeutic tissue levels compared to serum levels (p less than 0.01, chi square). Initial intravenous antibiotic administration provides inadequate tissue concentrations for treating foot infections in patients with diabetes. Adequate serum antibiotic levels do not reflect therapeutic tissue antibiotic levels at the surgical margins in this group of patients.

Author List

Seabrook GR, Edmiston CE, Schmitt DD, Krepel C, Bandyk DF, Towne JB


Gary R. Seabrook MD Chief, Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Anti-Bacterial Agents
Bacterial Infections
Diabetes Complications
Diabetes Mellitus
Foot Diseases
jenkins-FCD Prod-468 69a93cef3257f26b866d455c1d2b2d0f28382f14