A systematic analysis on the utility of prophylactic antibiotics for neuroendovascular procedures has not been performed. At the authors’ institution there is a unique setup to address this question, with some attending physicians using prophylactic antibiotics (cefazolin or vancomycin) for all of their neurointerventions while others generally do not.
The authors performed a retrospective review of the last 549 neurointerventional procedures in 484 patients at Tisch Hospital, NYU Langone Medical Center. Clinical and radiological data were collected for analysis, including presence of prophylactic antibiotic use, local or systemic infection, infection laboratory values, and treatment. Overall, 306 aneurysms, 117 arteriovenous malformations/arteriovenous fistulas, 86 tumors, and 40 vessel stenosis/dissections were treated with coiling (n = 109), Pipeline embolization device (n = 197), embolization (n = 203), or stenting (n = 40).
Antibiotic prophylaxis was used in 265 of 549 cases (48%). There was no significant difference between patients with or without antibiotic prophylaxis in sex (p = 0.48), presence of multiple interventions (p = 0.67), diseases treated (p = 0.11), or intervention device placed (p = 0.55). The mean age of patients in the antibiotic prophylaxis group (53.4 years) was significantly lower than that of the patients without prophylaxis (57.1 years; p = 0.014). Two mild local groin infections (0.36%) and no systemic infections (0%) were identified in this cohort, with one case in each group (1/265 [0.38%] vs 1/284 [0.35%]). Both patients recovered completely with local drainage (n = 1) and oral antibiotic treatment (n = 1).
The risk of infection associated with endovascular neurointerventions with or without prophylactic antibiotic use was very low in this cohort. The data suggest that the routine use of antibiotic prophylaxis seems unnecessary and that to prevent antibiotic resistance and reduce costs antibiotic prophylaxis should be reserved for selected patients deemed to be at increased infection risk.