Use of sterile pre-fabricated antibiotic beads in the combat hospital setting.

Military medicine

PubMedID: 23707121

Gordon WT, Petrides MG, Gunn PA, Howard M. Use of sterile pre-fabricated antibiotic beads in the combat hospital setting. Mil Med. 2013;178(3):330-3.
Time and manpower constraints associated with acute combat casualty care can make antibiotic bead production at the point of care prohibitively difficult, if not impossible. The purpose of this study is to evaluate our technique for the sterile prefabrication of antibiotic-impregnated polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads in the combat hospital environment by assessing their sterility at the time of use. This investigation is a prospective study of a consecutive series of specimens. Imipenem-impregnated antibiotic beads were sterilely prepared, threaded on a suture strand, and packaged. Over a 6-week period, 50 consecutive packages were evaluated for sterility with aerobic and anaerobic culture swabs performed at the time of opening. Culture results, as well as number of shelf days for each specimen, were then reviewed. Of the 50 packages of antibiotic-impregnated PMMA beads, the average number of days on the shelf before use was 9.3 (range: 2-17). None of the packages showed growth of organisms from the cultures, indicating that antibiotic-impregnated PMMA beads can be sterilely produced and maintained in their sterile state for future use in the combat hospital environment. This practice should be considered a safe adjunct in the management of contaminated, open traumatic injuries in this setting.