A questionnaire was sent to 120 United Kingdom cardiac surgeons to ask for information on their use of prophylactic antibiotics in adult cardiac surgical patients. Data on type and duration of antibiotic were specifically sought. The response rate was 91%. All respondents used prophylactic antibiotics: 32% used single agents (second and third generation cephalosporins were the most commonly used) and 68% used either two (89%) or three (11%) antibiotics in combination. The total duration of prophylactic antibiotic treatment was less than 48 hours for 89% of respondents. Single dose antibiotics were used by only 6%. The use of prophylactic antibiotics has changed in the past few years, with a trend away from combinations of antibiotics to single agents. The duration of use of antibiotics has shortened and the use of single dose agents has increased.
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