Do High-Risk Patients with Infected Puncture Wounds Get Appropriate Tetanus Prophylaxis?

David H Truong
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Matthew Malone
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Javier La Fontaine
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Dane K Wukich
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Orhan Oz
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Lawrence A Lavery
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Background: To evaluate clinicians' compliance to follow national guidelines for tetanus vaccination prophylaxis in high-risk foot patients. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 114 consecutive patients between June 2011 and March 2019 who presented with a foot infection resulting from a puncture injury through the emergency department. Eighty-three patients had diabetes mellitus and 31 patients did not have diabetes mellitus. Electronic medical records were used to collect a broad range of study data on patient demographics, previous medical history, previous tetanus immunization history and tetanus status upon presentation to the emergency department (ED), peripheral arterial disease, sensory neuropathy, laboratory values, and clinical / surgical outcomes. Results: 46.5% of the patients who presented to the ED with a puncture wound did not have up-to-date tetanus immunization. Of those patients, 79.2% received a tetanus-containing vaccine booster, 3.8% received intramuscular tetanus immunoglobulins (TIG), 3.8% received both tetanus-containing vaccine booster and TIG, and 20.8% received no form of tetanus prophylaxis. When comparing data between patients with and without diabetes, there were no statistical significant differences in tetanus prophylaxis. Conclusion: Guidelines for tetanus prophylaxis amongst high-risk foot patients in this study center are not followed in all patients. Patients with DM are at high risks of exposure to tetanus, we recommend physicians to take a detailed tetanus immunization history and vaccinate them if tetanus history is unclear.

Corresponding Author; email: david.truong@utsouthwestern.edu