State of the Union: Timeliness to Antibiotics in Open Fractures

Eric R. Barnard, Dustin Stwalley, Anna N. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective:In open fractures, early administration of systemic antibiotics has recently been recognized as a universal recommendation, with the current American College of Surgeons Trauma Center Verification recommendation for administration within 1 hour of facility arrival. We sought to quantify the baseline rate of timely antibiotic administration and the various factors associated with delay.Methods:Data from the National Trauma Data Bank were obtained for all patients treated for open fractures in 2019. 65,552 patients were included. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed, first for patient, prehospital, and hospital factors compared with rate of antibiotic administration within 1 hour of hospital arrival, then with a multivariate analysis of factors affecting these times.Results:The overall rate of antibiotic administration within 1 hour of arrival was 47.6%. Patient factors associated with lower rates of timely antibiotics include increased age, Medicare status, and a higher number of comorbidities. Associated prehospital factors included non-work-related injuries, fixed-wing air or police transport, and walk-in arrival method. Patients with lower extremity open fractures were more likely to receive antibiotics within 1 hour of arrival than those with upper extremity open fractures. Traumatic amputations had a higher rate of timely administration (67.3%). ACS trauma Level II (52.5%) centers performed better than Level III (48.3%), Level I (45.5%), and Level IV (34.5%) centers. Multivariate analysis confirmed the findings of the univariate analysis.Conclusions:Despite current clinical standards, rates of adherence to rapid antibiotic administration are low. Certain patient, facility, and environmental factors are associated with delays in antibiotic administration and can be a focus for quality improvement processes. We plan to use these data to evaluate how focus on antibiotic administration as this quality standard changes practice over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E213-E218
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2023


  • antibiotics
  • open fracture


Dive into the research topics of 'State of the Union: Timeliness to Antibiotics in Open Fractures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this