Every year, there are about a million biopsies performed in the United States. For some of the men who undergo these biopsies, the procedure also means the introduction of dangerous bloodstream infections. According to specialists, the rates of bloodstream infections related to prostate biopsies have been increasing steadily over the past few years.
According to a study by researchers at the University of Toronto, there’s been a steady increase in prostate biopsy-related infections that were serious enough to require hospitalization. Over a period of 10 years, the number of infections related to prostate biopsies went up from 1% to 4%. While those may not seem like very high numbers, it’s important to remember that approximately 1 million men undergo prostate biopsies annually. That works out to about 40,000 men with prostate biopsy-related infections – not what Indiana medical malpractice lawyers would call a small number at all.
There are other studies that have indicated a link between prostate biopsies and deadly bloodstream infections. One study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins found that 7% of approximately 150,000 Medicaid patients suffered serious complications after prostate biopsies. These complications were serious enough to require hospitalization. About four in 1000 of these hospitalizations were infection-related.
Additionally, non-white men seem to be at a much higher risk of prostate biopsy-related infections than white males.
According to the researchers, while the number of non-infection hospitalizations after prostate biopsies has remained constant, there has been an increase in the number of infections after prostate biopsies. The rise of antibiotic-resistant microbes may underlie the increased infection risks. In order to deal with this issue, doctors have begun to prescribe more effective antibiotic therapy for men whose intestinal tract seems to harbor resistant bacteria.
The increased risk of bloodstream infections after these biopsies is causing doctors to re-evaluate their recommendation criteria for biopsies. Doctors are beginning to ask themselves whether a person really needs a prostate biopsy before recommending it.