Background: The most frequent open long bone injury requiring immediate surgical intervention is an open tibial fracture. Within 6 hours of the injury, emergent surgical debridement of an open tibia fracture is advised by current guidelines. Recently, the 6-hour rule became challenged and delaying in debridement of an open fracture may be unethical.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the relationship between time of surgical debridement and rate of infection after open fracture tibia at National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) on 608 patients with open fracture tibia (all Gustilo types) within 24 hours of injury from January 2018 to October 2019.
Results: The mean age of the 608 patients was 36.2±15.5 years. The foremost mechanism of injury was road traffic accident (72.0%) and among the associated injuries, concomitant soft tissue injury (32.5%) was prevalent. Gustilo III was predominant injury (72.1%) and infection rates among the Gustilo subtype II was predominant (31.3%). After debridement 73 (12.0%) patients were contamination free. A significant association was found in the contamination rate between surveillance culture and post-debridement culture (p=0.000). Positive correlation found between debridement done ≥6 hours and infection present in 3rd culture from ward (r=0.237).
Conclusion: The study insights that injury characteristics, infection pattern and infection rate of open fracture tibia. Delay in debridement has a significant relationship with wound infection, with more virulent multidrug resistance phenotypes.