The affect of radiotherapy on oropharyngeal bacterial flora was studied in the hope that this might help in controlling post-operative infections in previously irradiated patients. Eighty patients were included from whom swabs were taken before and at the end of irradiation, Swabs were also taken two weeks after treatment in the last 40 patients. Thirty healthy controls were included.
It was found that coagulase positive Staphylococcus aureus, β-haemolytic streptococci, Candida albicans, B. proteus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, were significantly increased at the end of irradiation, while Klebsiella was increased significantly in the period after irradiation. Culture and sensitivity was performed for the organisms isolated in the last 40 patients.
From this study it is evident that irradiation has a significant effect on oropharyngeal flora.