A French national survey on the use of antibiotic prophylaxis in cirrhotic patients



Thevenot Thierry, Service d'Hépatologie et de Soins Intensifs Digestifs, Hôpital Jean Minjoz, 25000 Besançon, France

Tel: 33 3 81 66 85 94

Fax: 33 3 81 66 84 18

e-mail: tthevenot@chu-besancon.fr



Guidelines recommend antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) in well-selected groups of cirrhotic patients, but the impact of these recommendations has not been assessed in France.


To evaluate AP prescription tendencies for gastrointestinal bleeding, and primary and secondary prophylaxis of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP).


Practitioners (n = 1,159) working in general hospitals (GH) or in university hospitals (UH) received a self-administered questionnaire.


Three hundred and eighty-nine (33.6%; GH 35% and UH 30.4%) practitioners responded. AP was prescribed by 97.7%, 72.3% and 94.8% of practitioners, without significant differences between UH and GH, respectively, for gastrointestinal bleeding (quinolones 48.2%, third-generation cephalosporins 27.7% and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid 22.2%), primary (quinolones 97.2%) and secondary prophylaxis of SBP (quinolones 99%). For gastrointestinal bleeding, ofloxacin (47.6%) and norfloxacin (37.4%) were the main quinolones prescribed, and ceftriaxone (77%) was the main third-generation cephalosporin prescribed. The principal reasons for prescribing AP were a decrease in bacterial infection (88.9% for gastrointestinal bleeding, 91.3% for primary and 94.3% for secondary prophylaxis of SBP), a recommendation by a consensus conference (83%, 38% and 74.4% respectively) and an improvement in survival (72.8%, 41.3% and 57.7% respectively). Only 31.7% of practitioners (39.6% for UH vs. 28.6% for GH; P = 0.038) believed that AP may reduce the risk of bleeding recurrence. Reported side effects (28%) of AP mainly concerned the risk of quinolone resistance (62% of cases).


Antibiotic prophylaxis is well-recognized by French practitioners, but its routine use depends on the expertise of practitioners. Quinolones remain the main antibiotic class prescribed irrespective of the type of prophylaxis.