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Ryan E. Radwanski, Brandon R. Christophe, Josephine U. Pucci, Moises A. Martinez, Michael Rothbaum, Emilia Bagiella, Franklin D. Lowy, Jared Knopman and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative surgical site infections (SSIs) in neurosurgical patients carry a significant risk of increased morbidity and mortality. With SSIs accounting for approximately 20% of nosocomial infections and costing approximately $1.6 billion USD annually, there is a need for additional prophylaxis to improve current standards of care. Topical vancomycin is increasingly utilized in instrumented spinal and cardiothoracic procedures, where it has been shown to reduce the risk of SSIs. A randomized controlled trial assessing its efficacy in the general neurosurgical population is currently underway. Here, the authors report their initial impressions of topical vancomycin safety among patients enrolled during the 1st year of the trial.

METHODS

This prospective, multicenter, patient-blinded, randomized controlled trial will enroll 2632 patients over 5 years. Here, the authors report the incidence of adverse events, the degree of systemic vancomycin absorption in treated patients, and pattern changes of antibiotic-resistant profiles of Staphylococcus aureus flora among patients enrolled during the 1st year.

RESULTS

The topical vancomycin treatment group comprised 257 patients (514 total enrolled patients), of whom 2 exhibited weakly positive serum levels of vancomycin (> 3.0 mg/dl). S. aureus was detected preoperatively in the anterior nares of 35 (18.1%) patients and the skin near the surgical site of 9 (4.7%). Colonization in the nares remained for many patients (71.4%) through postoperative day 30. The authors found a significant association between preoperative S. aureus colonization and postoperative colonization. Seven methicillin-resistant isolates were detected among 6 different patients. Two isolates were detected preoperatively, and 5 were de novo postoperative colonization. No adverse responses to treatment have been reported to date.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ data indicate that the use of topical vancomycin is safe with no significant adverse effects and minimal systemic absorption, and no development of vancomycin-resistant microorganisms.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02284126 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Natasha Ironside, Brandon Christophe, Samuel Bruce, Amanda M. Carpenter, Trae Robison, Nina Yoh, Serge Cremers, Donald Landry, Hans-Peter Frey, Ching-Jen Chen, Brian L. Hoh, Louis J. Kim, Jan Claassen and Edward Sander Connolly Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a significant contributor to poor outcomes after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). The neurotoxin 3-aminopropanal (3-AP) is upregulated in cerebral ischemia. This phase II clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of tiopronin in reducing CSF 3-AP levels in patients with aSAH.

METHODS

In this prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial, 60 patients were assigned to receive tiopronin or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Treatment was commenced within 96 hours after aSAH onset, administered at a dose of 3 g daily, and continued until 14 days after aSAH or hospital discharge, whichever occurred earlier. The primary efficacy outcome was the CSF 3-AP level at 7 ± 1 days after aSAH.

RESULTS

Of the 60 enrolled patients, 29 (97%) and 27 (93%) in the tiopronin and placebo arms, respectively, received more than one dose of the study drug or placebo. At post-aSAH day 7 ± 1, CSF samples were available in 41% (n = 12/29) and 48% (n = 13/27) of patients in the tiopronin and placebo arms, respectively. No difference in CSF 3-AP levels at post-aSAH day 7 ± 1 was observed between the study arms (11 ± 12 nmol/mL vs 13 ± 18 nmol/mL; p = 0.766). Prespecified adverse events led to early treatment cessation for 4 patients in the tiopronin arm and 2 in the placebo arm.

CONCLUSIONS

The power of this study was affected by missing data. Therefore, the authors could not establish or refute an effect of tiopronin on CSF 3-AP levels. Additional observational studies investigating the role of 3-AP as a biomarker for DCI may be warranted prior to its use as a molecular target in future clinical trials.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01095731 (ClinicalTrials.gov)