• Surveys of the use of antimicrobial agents were conducted at three university-affiliated teaching hospitals to ascertain the current use of antibiotics associated with surgery and to compare this use to the presently accepted standards. The survey included 300 consecutive surgical patients representing three surgical specialties. Evaluation was based on accepted therapeutic criteria with respect to the presence of an infection, appropriate in vitro antibiotic sensitivity testing, and recognized forms of prophylaxis. The results of our survey disclosed that although nonuse was usually appropriate, more often than not use of antibiotics was inappropriate. Errors, in order of frequency, included (1) misjudgments in attempted prophylaxis of operative wound infection, such as failure to use preoperative administration or use in clean operations without implanted foreign bodies, such as prosthesis, and (2) attempted treatment of undefined and undiagnosed fever.
(Arch Surg 114:883-886, 1979)