Following revision shoulder arthroplasty, postoperative antibiotics are selected before the results of intraoperative cultures become available. We determined infection-free survival, revision-free survival, complications, and patient-reported outcomes for patients selected to receive oral or intravenous (IV) antibiotics after revision arthroplasty.

This study included 92 patients who had revision shoulder arthroplasty. IV antibiotics were administered if the surgeon had a high index of suspicion for infection, and oral antibiotics were given if there was a low suspicion. Antibiotic therapy was modified based on intraoperative culture results. Patient-reported outcomes and adverse events were documented at a mean of 4.1 years.

In selecting antibiotic therapy, surgeons correctly predicted the presence or absence of multiple positive cultures of specimens from the revision surgery in 72% of the 92 cases. Subsequent re-revision surgery was required in 17 (18%) of the patients; 8 of these 17 patients had ≥2 positive cultures at re-revision. Patients who initially received IV antibiotics and those who initially received oral antibiotics had similar revision-free (p = 0.202) and infection-free (p = 0.155) survivorship. Patients requiring a change from oral to IV antibiotics based on positive cultures had similar survivorship compared with those initially treated with IV antibiotics. The IV and oral antibiotic groups had similar postoperative Simple Shoulder Test (SST), American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), and satisfaction scores. Patients receiving IV antibiotics had a higher rate of antibiotic-related adverse events.

Post-revision antibiotic therapy was associated with an infection-free survival rate of 91% at a mean of >4 years of follow-up. Infection-free survival, revision-free survival, and patient-reported outcomes were similar in high-risk patients placed on IV antibiotics and low-risk patients placed on oral antibiotics. Further study is needed to define the indications for IV or oral antibiotics after revision arthroplasty.

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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