✓ Because of a suspicion that intraoperative penicillin antibiotics might be causing early postoperative seizures in craniotomy patients, a deliberate effort was initiated in 1987 to avoid these agents in favor of nonpenicillin antibiotics. This permitted a retrospective comparison of the incidence of early postoperative seizures in craniotomy patients who did and who did not receive intraoperative penicillins. Records of patients treated between July 1, 1984, and July 1, 1985, and between July 1, 1987, and July 1, 1988, were reviewed, for a total of 1316 procedures. There were no seizures in the 323 patients who underwent suboccipital craniectomy. However, among the 993 patients receiving supratentorial procedures there were 30 with seizures within the first 6 hours postoperatively, 19 of which were generalized seizures. The incidence of early seizures was 4.7% (20 cases) of the 427 patients given penicillins and only 1.8% (10 cases) of the 566 not given penicillins (p < 0.01). Since patients undergoing surgery for intractable seizures have a high incidence of early postoperative seizures (11 of 92 in this series, or 12%), creation of a subgroup eliminated these from consideration but did not alter the relationship of penicillins to early seizures (p < 0.02). The authors conclude that intraoperative (and early postoperative) penicillin antibiotic administration should be avoided, if possible, in patients undergoing craniotomy for supratentorial pathology.
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