Publication Details

Elliott, R., Burrell, A., Harrigan, P., Murgo, M., Rolls, K., Sibbritt, D., Iredell, J. & Elliott, D. (2018). Antimicrobial prescription patterns and ventilator associated pneumonia: Findings from a 10-site prospective audit. BMC Research Notes, 11 (1), 1-5.


Objective: To examine anti-microbial prescribing practices associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia from data gathered during an audit of practice and outcomes in intensive care units (ICUs) in a previously published study. Results: The patient sample of 169 was 65% male with an average age of 59.7 years, a mean APACHE II score of 20.6, and a median ICU stay of 11 days. While ventilator-associated pneumonia was identified using a specific 4-item checklist in 29 patients, agreement between the checklist and independent physician diagnosis was only 17%. Sputum microbe culture reporting was sparse. Approximately 75% of the sample was administered an antimicrobial (main indications: lung infection [54%] and prophylaxis [11%]). No clinical justification was documented for 20% of prescriptions. Piperacillin/tazobactam was most frequently prescribed (1/3rd of all antimicrobial prescriptions) with about half of those for prophylaxis. Variations in prescribing practices were identified, including apparent gaps in antimicrobial stewardship; particularly in relation to prescribing for prophylaxis and therapy de-escalation. Sputum microbe culture reports for VAP did not appear to contribute to prescribing decisions but physician suspicion of lung infection and empiric therapy rather than ventilator-associated pneumonia criteria and guideline concordance.



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