(HealthDay News) – A screening and antibiotic treatment regimen for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in children undergoing open airway surgery may be helpful for minimizing MRSA-associated postoperative infections in MRSA-colonized patients, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

Melissa McCarty Statham, MD, of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of 180 children who underwent 197 open airway operations at a tertiary pediatric referral center from January 2007–March 2009. The effect of a MRSA screening and treatment protocol was examined.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of MRSA was 32.5%. Age at surgery, gender, gestational age at birth, and comorbidities were not significantly different in MRSA-colonized and noncolonized patients. The rates of postoperative infection were similar between the MRSA-colonized and noncolonized groups (16% and 17%, respectively). Postoperative MRSA infections developed in three patients who were MRSA negative on preoperative screening. In both groups, intraoperative adherence was high.

“We describe a MRSA screening and treatment protocol for children undergoing open airway surgery. We found a high prevalence (32.5%) of MRSA colonization in these patients,” the authors write. “Treatment of MRSA-colonized patients resulted in postoperative infection rates similar to those in MRSA-noncolonized patients.”

One author disclosed financial ties to medical device companies.

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