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Role of early intravenous to oral antibiotic switch therapy in the management of prosthetic hip infection treated with one- or two-stage replacement.

OBJECTIVES: To determine outcomes for an antibiotic regimen using early switch to oral antibiotics for treatment of infected total hip replacement (THR) treated by either a one-stage or two-stage procedure.

METHODS: Cases of infected THR were identified from the microbiology records on all orthopaedic infections in a 24 month period. Diagnosis was made by microbiological culture of theatre specimens and findings at the time of surgery. A standard approach of 10-14 days intravenous (iv) antibiotic followed by a switch to oral antibiotics either for 6-8 weeks until second-stage re-implantation or for up to 3 months following a one-stage procedure was used. The exact date of oral switch and antibiotic duration was determined by clinical resolution and C-reactive protein (CRP). Outcome was recorded as no microbiological or clinical evidence of relapse of infection or relapse after completing the antibiotic course. Follow-up duration for all cases at the time of study was 24-36 months after completion of antibiotic treatment.

RESULTS: In 24 months, 19 patients underwent two-stage THR for infection, of which 17 were treated with oral antibiotics after a median of 14 days initial iv antibiotics. None relapsed. Four patients underwent one-stage THR and had 12-20 days iv then 6-26 weeks oral antibiotics with no relapse.

CONCLUSIONS: Early oral antibiotic switch therapy was effective in patients treated at the Avon Orthopaedic Centre with infected THR and plays an important role in enabling patients to return to independence after revision surgery and avoid complications of prolonged iv access.

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