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Bacteremia with Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

HARRISON J. SHULL Jr., M.D.; BRUCE M. GREENE, M.D.; STEPHEN D. ALLEN, M.D.; G. DEWEY DUNN, M.D., F.A.C.P.; and STEVEN SCHENKER, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by a grant from the Veterans Administration and grant 5R01AA00267-04, National Institute of Mental Health.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Harrison J. Shull, Jr., M.D., Veterans Administration Hospital, 1310-24th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37203.


Ann Intern Med. 1975;83(2):212-214. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-83-2-212
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Fifty patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal fiberoptic endoscopy were studied prospectively for the development of bacteremia by aerobic and anaerobic blood cultures obtained before, during, and at 5 and 30 minutes after the procedure. Forty-six patients were culture negative; four had positive cultures at 5 or 30 minutes after the procedure, or at both times. The level of bacteremia as estimated by pour plates was very low. Bacteremia did not correlate with the performance of biopsy or the type of mucosal abnormality found. It is concluded that only very high-risk patients should receive antimicrobial prophylaxis before this procedure. The minor risk of this low-level bacteremia should not be considered a contraindication to the performance of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

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