Safety of administering cefazolin versus other antibiotics in penicillin-allergic patients for surgical prophylaxis at a major Canadian teaching hospital

Surgery. 2021 Apr 21:S0039-6060(21)00214-2. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2021.03.022. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Cefazolin surgical prophylaxis is associated with better patient outcomes; however, its use in penicillin-allergic patients is controversial. We evaluated the safety of cefazolin as surgical prophylaxis in penicillin-allergic patients, including those with anaphylaxis histories.

METHODS: We conducted a pre and postintervention quality improvement evaluation of an institution-wide policy change at a tertiary-care hospital, before (October 2017-January 2018), during (February 2018-September 2018), and after (October 2018-October 2019) transition to routine cefazolin prophylaxis for penicillin-allergic patients, including those with anaphylaxis histories but excluding severe delayed reactions (eg, Stevens-Johnson syndrome). Retrospective data was collected on all surgical prophylaxis patients with penicillin-anaphylactic histories between October 2017 and September 2018. From October 2018, we prospectively reviewed adverse events with cefazolin. Primary outcome was adverse events in penicillin-allergic patients receiving cefazolin perioperatively.

RESULTS: From October 2017 to October 2019, 27,467 operations were performed. Of 220 patients with penicillin-anaphylactic histories reviewed prior to the full policy change, no statistically significant differences were reported in allergic reactions (P = .70), surgical site infections (P = 1.00), or adverse events (P = .32) with cefazolin compared to other antibiotics. Postpolicy implementation, cefazolin usage increased 18.2%, while vancomycin and clindamycin decreased by 11.4% and 62.0%, respectively. No anaphylaxis was documented in penicillin-allergic patients receiving cefazolin in either the review or quality assurance follow-up after the change. Of 3 patients developing reactions to cefazolin, none had histories of penicillin allergy. Surgical site infection rates were similar between pre and postpolicy time periods (P = .842).

CONCLUSION: Administration of cefazolin in penicillin-anaphylactic patients for surgical prophylaxis appears to be safe.

PMID:33894984 | DOI:10.1016/j.surg.2021.03.022