The economics and timing of preoperative antibiotics for orthopaedic procedures

B. A. Norman, S. M. Bartsch, A. P. Duggan, M. B. Rodrigues, D. R. Stuckey, A. F. Chen, B. Y. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The efficacy of antibiotics in preventing surgical site infections (SSIs) depends on the timing of administration relative to the start of surgery. However, currently, both the timing of and recommendations for administration vary substantially. Aim: To determine how the economic value from the hospital perspective of preoperative antibiotics varies with the timing of administration for orthopaedic procedures. Methods: Computational decision and operational models were developed from the hospital perspective. Baseline analyses looked at current timing of administration, while additional analyses varied the timing of administration, compliance with recommended guidelines, and the goal time-interval. Findings: Beginning antibiotic administration within 0-30. min prior to surgery resulted in the lowest costs and SSIs. Operationally, linking to a pre-surgical activity, administering antibiotics prior to incision but after anaesthesia-ready time was optimal, as 92.1% of the time, antibiotics were administered in the optimal time-interval (0-30. min prior to incision). Improving administration compliance from 80% to 90% for this pre-surgical activity results in cost savings of $447 per year for a hospital performing 100 orthopaedic operations a year. Conclusion: This study quantifies the potential cost-savings when antibiotic administration timing is improved, which in turn can guide the amount hospitals should invest to address this issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • Antibiotic timing
  • Economics
  • Infections
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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