Current international and national prophylactic antibiotic regimens have been analyzed in respect of the prevention of bacteremia after dental and surgical procedures and, therefore, of joint prosthesis infection. This information was used to formulate guidelines for the Department of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery. Publications since 2003 were used in this research. In addition, recommendations of accredited institutions and associations were examined. These included the guidelines of the American Dental Association in association with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (2003), the American Heart Association (2007), the Working Party of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2006) and the Australian Dental Guidelines (2005). No guidelines published by any institution in South Africa were found. The general rationale for the use of antibiotic prophylaxis for surgical (including dental) interventions is that those procedures may result in a bacteremia that may cause infection in joint prostheses. Antibiotics, however, should therefore be administered to susceptible patients, e.g. immunocompromised patients, prior to the development of bacteremia. The guidelines recommended for use in South Africa are based solely on those used outside South Africa. South Africa is regarded as a developing country with its own population and demographic characteristics. Eleven percent of our population is infected with HIV, and a specific guideline for prophylactic antibiotic treatment is, therefore, essential.
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