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01.05.2016 | original article | Ausgabe 9-10/2016

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 9-10/2016

Management of bite wounds in children and adults—an analysis of over 5000 cases at a level I trauma centre

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 9-10/2016
Manuela Jaindl, Gerhard Oberleitner, Georg Endler, Christiane Thallinger, MD Florian M. Kovar



Bite wounds are among the commonest types of trauma to which man is the subject. They account for 5 % of the total traumatic wounds evaluated in the emergency department (ED) and approximately 1 % of all the ED visits. Early estimation of infection risk, adequate antibiotic therapy and if indicated surgical treatment are the cornerstones of successful cure of bite wounds.


A total of 5248 consecutive trauma patients were collected prospectively and analysed retrospectively over a period of 15 years in this study at a level I trauma centre, Department of Trauma Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.


The mean age was 33.8 years (range 0–97), 2620 (49.9 %) were male and 2628 (50.1 %) were female individuals. In our study population, a total of 2530 dog bites (48.2 %), 930 cat bites (17.8 %), 357 other animal bites (6.8 %), 426 human bites (8.1 %) and 1005 human self-bites (19.2 %) have been observed. A total of 995 wounds (19.0 %) have been infected. Surgery was done in 132 wounds (2.5 %).


We could show a six times higher infection rate of cat bites compared to dog bites. Human bites showed a total infection rate of 8.2 %. Observed infection rate of puncture wounds and wounds greater than 3 cm was 1.5 times higher than for all other wounds in the present study. Total infection rates within 24 h to antibiotic administration was 29.3 %, compared to 65.0 % < 48 h and 81.1 % < 72 h. Time interval also influenced the overall outcome showing a 2.6 increase in acceptable and 1.3 increase in poor outcome after 72 h.

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