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      Patients’ safety: is there a systemic release of gentamicin by gentamicin-coated tibia nails in clinical use?

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          Osteitis is one of the most serious complications in orthopedic surgery. Expert Tibia Nail (ETN) PROtect™ coated with a biodegradable layer of gentamicin-laden polymer was developed for prophylaxis of osteomyelitis. In systemic administration, gentamicin has only a small therapeutic index and serious side effects; it is potentially nephrotoxic as well as ototoxic. It is not yet known if relevant gentamicin concentrations are released into the systemic circulation after implantation of gentamicin-coated nails. In order to evaluate the patients’ risks profiles and increase patient safety, we measured gentamicin levels in pre- and postoperative serum samples of patients undergoing implantation of ETN PROtect.


          Twenty-five patients who received ETN PROtect between March 2012 and August 2014 were included in this study. Collection of blood samples occurred before the operation, at weeks 1–4, 3 and 6 months, and up to 1 year after the implantation. Measurement of gentamicin levels in serum samples was performed at the central laboratory of Heidelberg University Hospital. Additionally, laboratory parameters, C-reactive protein, leukocyte number, urea and creatinine concentrations were analyzed in routine controls before and after operating and assessed for systemic side effects.


          Over the course of this prospective observational study, we were able to determine that gentamicin-coated nails do not release gentamicin into the systemic circulation above the lowest detectable level of 0.2 mg/dL. There were slight increases in the mean inflammation and renal retention markers, but no gentamicin-associated side effects could be linked to implantation. Furthermore, no allergic reactions could be detected during our study.


          Our findings suggest that there is no relevant release of gentamicin into the systemic circulation causing a systemic effect, and serious side effects due to gentamicin-coated tibia nails should not be feared. Postoperative monitoring of renal function does not seem necessary because of the implantation of ETN PROtect.

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          Most cited references 44

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            The C-reactive protein.

             B Clyne,  J Olshaker (2015)
            C-reactive protein (CRP) was identified in 1930 and was subsequently considered to be an "acute phase protein," an early indicator of infectious or inflammatory conditions. Since its discovery, CRP has been studied as a screening device for inflammation, a marker for disease activity, and as a diagnostic adjunct. Improved methods of quantifying CRP have led to increased application to clinical medicine. In the emergency department (ED), CRP must be interpreted in the clinical context; no single value can be used to rule in or rule out a specific diagnosis. We conclude that CRP has limited utility in the ED. It may be a useful adjunct to serial examinations in equivocal presentations of appendicitis in those centers without ready access to computed tomography (CT) scan. It may be elevated with complications or treatment failures in patients with pneumonia, pancreatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and urinary tract infections. In patients with meningitis, neonatal sepsis, and occult bacteremia, CRP is usually elevated. However, CRP has no role in diagnosing these clinical entities, and a normal CRP level should never delay antibiotic coverage.
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              Prophylaxis and treatment of implant-related infections by antibiotic-coated implants: a review.

              Implant-related infection is a feared complication in orthopedic and trauma surgery with tremendous consequences for the patient. To reduce this risk, administration of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis is a routine procedure in orthopedic surgery. A local delivery system for antibiotics based on a polymer implant coating has been developed to optimize the prophylaxis. In an animal experiment, the efficacy of local prophylaxis of gentamicin was compared to a systemic single shot of gentamicin and to a combination of both administrations. The medullary cavities of rat tibiae were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus and titanium K-wires were implanted into the medullary canals. For local antibiotic therapy, the implants were coated with poly(D,L-Lactide) (PDLLA) loaded with gentamicin. All the animals not treated with local and systemic application of the antibiotic developed osteomyelitis and all cultures of the implants tested positive for S. aureus. Onset of infection was prevented in 80-90% of animals treated with gentamicin-coated K-wires, with and without systemic prophylaxis. Gentamicin-coated intramedullary tibial nails are CE-certified for Europe and Canada and several patients have already been treated for implant-related infection. Up to now, eight patients with open tibia fractures have been treated with an unreamed tibial nail (UTN) coated with PDLLA and gentamicin. In the 1-year follow up, none of the patients developed an infection. A prospective randomized clinical documentation is currently in progress. So far, the results suggest that a local application of gentamicin from PDLLA-coated implants might support systemic antibiotic prophylaxis in preventing implant-associated osteomyelitis.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                07 September 2016
                : 12
                : 1387-1393
                [1 ]HTRG – Heidelberg Traume Research Group Center for Orthopedics, Trauma and Spinal Cord Injury, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Arash Moghaddam, HTRG-Heidelberg Trauma Research Group Center of Orthopaedics, Trauma Surgery and Spinal Cord Injury, Schlierbacher Landstraße 200a, D-69118, Heidelberg, Germany, Tel +49 6221 563 5394, Email Arash.Moghaddam@
                © 2016 Moghaddam et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


                osteomyelitis, osteitis, pseudoarthrosis, fracture, therapy, etn protect, implant, infection, tibia


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