Background: Mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT) is typically associated with poor prognosis. Although prophylactic antibiotics are sometimes given with the intent of limiting bacterial luminal load and translocation in patients with MVT, this approach has not been universally adopted. The aim of this study is to analyze whether utilizing antibiotics empirically in those with MVT improves patient outcomes and survival when compared to those who do not receive empiric antibiotics. Methods: A retrospective review of patients admitted with MVT between 2002 and 2019 at a single academic institution was performed. Demographics and rates of mortality need for bowel resection, readmission, and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection were compared between patients treated with empiric antibiotics and patients not treated with antibiotics. Results: Eighty-three patients (mean age 64.5 years and 55.4% male) who were admitted for MVT were included. Empiric antibiotics were utilized in 53% (n = 44) of MVT patients while 47% (n = 39) received supportive treatment without empiric antibiotics. Death occurred in 4 patients treated with antibiotics and 6 patients treated without antibiotics (9.1% vs. 15.3%, P =.50). Readmissions occurred in 12 patients (27.3%) treated with antibiotics and 10 patients (25.6%) not treated with antibiotics (27.3% vs. 25.6%, P =.87). C. diff infection occurred in 6 patients treated with antibiotics and in no patients not treated with antibiotics (13.6% vs. 0%, P =.03). Conclusions: Empiric antibiotic usage may not improve rates of mortality or hospital readmission in patients with MVT and may unnecessarily expose patients to an increased risk of C. diff infection.
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