Surgical Antibiotic Prophylaxis

Surgical antibiotic prophylaxis is a critical step in preventing surgical site infection. The maximum benefit with the least harm is gained by administering an appropriate agent at the right time and for the right duration. Giving the antibiotic for longer than is needed does not reduce the risk of infection and does increase the risk of harm such as acute kidney injury and Clostridioides difficile infection.

A joint position statement on surgical antibiotic prophylaxis duration was developed by the HSE Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control Team (AMRIC), the HSE Antimicrobial Stewardship Advisory Group & the National Clinical Programme for Surgery (NCPS).

Acknowledgement to the following groups for review and feedback of this position statement:

  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
  • The College of Anaesthesiologists
  • The Institute of Obstetrics & Gynaecologists
  • HSE National Clinical Programmes for Anaesthesia, Women & Infants, Heart, and, Trauma & Orthopaedics.
  • Irish Society of Clinical Microbiologists
  • Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland
  • Irish Antimicrobial Pharmacists Group

A collaborative group, from the NCPS and AMRIC, has developed resources to support the implementation of this position statement, including:  

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We would be interested to hear of your local experiences of this quality improvement work or any feedback you have on any of the tools or resources, email