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Background: Overall, ~12% of outpatient visits result in an antibiotic prescription, and 30% of those prescriptions are inappropriate. Behavioral nudges help influence practitioner behavior. We hypothesized that peer comparison combined with a behavioral nudge (a patient alert letter) would influence prescribers to reduce antibiotic prescriptions and improve antimicrobial stewardship in the outpatient setting. We pilot-tested this intervention in outpatient primary care clinics associated with a large Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. Methods: We conducted a clustered randomized controlled trial of 12 community-based outpatient clinics. All practitioners in the intervention arm received quarterly comparative feedback reports and, when indicated, quarterly patient alert letters. Comparative feedback reports gave personalized feedback about antibiotic prescriptions for upper respiratory tract infections, comparing the recipient’s antibiotic prescriptions to the average for all practitioners at the primary care clinics included in our study. Patient alert letters notified practitioners to patients in their panel with recently detected Clostridioides difficile or resistant organism and their antibiotic exposures. We assessed outpatient visits during the preintervention period (April–September 2020), the intervention period (October 2020–September 2021), and the postintervention period (October 2021–September 2022). A mixed-effects logistic regression model predicting antibiotic prescriptions compared the arms across these periods. Results: The outpatient populations observed in the intervention and control arms were similar during each phase of the study. Prior to the intervention, the average proportion of visits with an antibiotic prescription was lower among clinics in the intervention arm (1.4% vs 1.8% in control arm; P = .45). This difference broadened slightly during the intervention period (1.4% vs 2.1%, respectively; P = .03) and the postintervention period (1.3% vs 2.1%, respectively; P = .01) (Fig. 1). Throughout the study, clinics in the intervention arm typically used more doxycycline and azithromycin and less amoxicillin-clavulanate and sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim compared to clinics in the control arm. (Fig. 2). In the 6-month preintervention period, which coincided with the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, antibiotic prescriptions in the intervention compared to control clinics were similar. During the intervention and postintervention periods, the proportion of visits with an antibiotic prescription remained steady for clinics in the intervention arm and increased for those in the control arm. These results suggest that this pilot study using a low-intensity intervention consisting of comparative feedback reports and patient alert letters was successful in influencing the antibiotic prescribing behavior of primary care clinicians practicing in community-based outpatient clinics affiliated with a VA medical center.
Financial support: This study was funded by Merck.
Background: In long-term care settings, practice patterns among practitioners are stronger determinants of antibiotic use than resident characteristics. In July 2021, hospitalists from the acute medicine service replaced geriatricians and assumed the care of residents in a 110-bed community living center (CLC) at a large academic Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. We assessed changes in antibiotic use associated with that change of practitioners to guide stewardship efforts. We hypothesized that antibiotic use in the CLC would shift, reflecting the practice pattern of practitioners accustomed to treating patients in acute-care settings. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022, 1 year before and after the change of practitioners on July 1, 2021. We assessed resident characteristics and the following metrics of antibiotic use at monthly intervals: days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 bed days of care (BDOC), antibiotic starts per 1,000 BDOC, and mean length of therapy (LOT) in days. We also compared the DOT per 1,000 BDOC for various antibiotics, in groups and individually. Results: In the years before and after the change of practitioners on July 1, 2021, the characteristics of CLC residents were comparable. Before and after July 1, 2021, monthly DOT per 1,000 BDOC (Fig. 1A), antibiotic starts per 1,000 BDOC, and mean LOT (Fig. 1B) were similar. After July 1, 2021, the use of fluoroquinolones decreased (14.31 vs 5.83 DOT per 1,000 BDOC; P < .01), and variations in anti-MRSA, narrow-spectrum, and broad-spectrum hospital agents were small, whereas the use of broad-spectrum community agents increased (29.42 vs 47.81 DOT per 1,000 BDOC; P < .01) (Fig. 2A). Within this group, there was increased use of doxycycline (7.42 vs 19.13 DOT per 1,000 BDOC; P < .01), ertapenem (2.03 vs 4.58 DOT per 1,000 BDOC; P < .01), and, modestly, azithromycin (0.40 vs 1.80 DOT per 1,000 BDOC) (Fig. 2B). Conclusions: The overall use of antibiotics, as measured by DOT, antibiotic starts, and LOT did not change after hospitalists assumed care of CLC residents. However, a notable decrease was observed in the use of fluoroquinolones, and an increase was observed in the use of doxycycline and ertapenem. Stewardship that is tailored to the type of provider and incorporates their practice patterns is needed to reinforce the prudent use of antibiotics.
For primary care clinics at a Veterans’ Affairs (VA) medical center, the shift from in-person to telehealth visits during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was associated with low rates of antibiotic prescription. Understanding contextual factors associated with antibiotic prescription practices during telehealth visits may help promote antibiotic stewardship in primary care settings.
In this large, retrospective cohort study, we used administrative data to evaluate nonpregnant adults with group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteriuria. We found greater all-cause mortality in those with urinary tract infections compared to asymptomatic bacteriuria. Differences in patients’ baseline characteristics and the 1-year mortality rate raise the possibility that provider practices contribute to differences observed.
Background: Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 often receive antimicrobial therapies due to concerns for bacterial and fungal coinfections. We analyzed patients admitted with COVID-19 to our VA facility to understand antimicrobial use, frequency of coinfections, and outcomes in our population. Methods: This retrospective study included veterans who were 18 years or older and hospitalized with COVID-19 from March 10, 2020, to March 9, 2021 at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. We identified antimicrobials administered and coinfections with bacterial or fungal pathogens. Patients were deemed to have coinfection if there was supporting microbiological data and a consistent clinical course upon review of clinical records. Urinary tract infections were excluded because of difficulty determining infection. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for 30-day mortality were derived using multivariate logistic regression models that included age, Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), corticosteroid use, and time of infection. Results: In our cohort of 312 patients, the median age was 70 years and 97% of the patients were male. The mean CCI was 3.7 (SD, 3.0), and 111 patients (35.6%) had a score ≥5. Oxygen was administered to 250 patients (80.1%), and 20 (6.4%) required mechanical ventilation. Antimicrobials were administered to 164 patients (52.6%) (Fig. 1). Of 20 patients (6.4%) with coinfection, 11 (3.5%) had a bloodstream infection (BSI) and 9 (2.9%) had bacterial pneumonia (Fig. 2). The overall 30-day mortality rate was 12.5% (39 of 312). Among patients with coinfection, the 30-day mortality rate was 45% (9 of 20). Diagnoses of BSI (OR, 6.35; 95% CI, 1.41–26.30) and bacterial pneumonia (OR, 9.34; 95% CI, 2.01–46.34) were associated with increased mortality. Of the data available, 12 (63%) of 19 patients with coinfection had elevated procalcitonin levels (ie, >0.50). At the time of COVID-19 diagnosis, the median absolute lymphocyte count in patients who died was 0.7 K/mm3 (95% CI, 0.6–1.12) in comparison to 1 K/mm3 (95% CI, 0.7–1.4) in patients who survived at 30 days. Conclusions: Our analysis of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with advanced age and underlying comorbid conditions demonstrated that coinfections were infrequent but that they were independently associated with increased mortality. This finding highlights the need for better tools to diagnose the presence or absence of bacterial and fungal coinfection in COVID-19 patients. Our findings also emphasize the need for judicious use of antimicrobials while discerning which patients are at risk of critical illness and mortality.
Background: An estimated 30% of antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient settings may be inappropriate. Antibiotic exposure increases an individual’s risk of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). To assess the prevalence of community-acquired CDI (CA-CDI) among patients without recent hospitalization and to examine the influence of outpatient antibiotic exposure on the risk of acquiring CA-CDI in this population, we examined a 2-year cohort of patients seen in primary care clinics at VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) associated with a large VA medical center. Methods: All primary care visits and nonvisit antibiotic prescriptions were identified in calendar years 2018–2019 as encounters of interest. Encounters occurring Results: We identified 84,787 patients with visits meeting our criteria. In this cohort, 3,533 patients were prescribed antibiotics at their encounter of whom 5 (0.14%) developed CA-CDI. Among the 81,254 patients who were not prescribed antibiotics, 15 (0.02%) developed CA-CDI, yielding an unadjusted CA-CDI odds ratio of 7.68 (95% CI, 2.50–19.82). p Conclusions: Although CA-CDI episodes were infrequent among VA outpatients with a CBOC visit in 2018–2019, the odds of CA-CDI were 7-fold greater in outpatients with antibiotic exposure than outpatients without antibiotic exposure. Antibiotic stewardship interventions that emphasize adverse events as a result of care provided in the outpatient setting, rather than as events limited to acute-care settings, may mitigate CDI risk.
Funding: This work was supported by the Merck Investigator Studies Program (MISP 59266 to F.P. and R.J.), and funds and facilities were provided by the Cleveland Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System. The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Disclosures:. All authors report no conflicts of interest relevant to this article. R.J. has received research funding from Pfizer; she has also participated in advisory boards for Pfizer and Merck.
Background:Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important pathogen in the hospital setting; it has the ability to cause severe disease and a high mortality rate. Its increasing ability to elude even novel antimicrobial mechanisms of action is a significant cause for concern. More effective treatment options and increasing understanding of this pathogen likely effect P. aeruginosa incidence and severity; however, longer-term studies are lacking. The Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA) population is a socially, demographically, and medically distinct entity, representing a rich source of data for studying contributing factors to P. aeruginosa infection and mortality. We sought to identify the system-wide case count and mortality rate of P. aeruginosa bacteremia and the rate of resistance to antipseudomonal agents over the course of several years. We described trends observed over the study period. Methods: We utilized the nationwide VHA database to identify all inpatients with a positive blood culture for P. aeruginosa treated between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2020. We identified the annual count of bacteremia cases and associated 30-day mortality rate. Additionally, we determined rates of resistance to antipseudomonal agents. Results: In total, 7,480 cases of P. aeruginosa bacteremia were identified. The total case count of P. aeruginosa bacteremia decreased from 774 in 2009 to 519 in 2014, then remained relatively stable. The 30-day mortality rate decreased from 26.5 in 2009 to 19.3 in 2019, but this rate increased to 23.6 in 2020 (Fig. 1). The fluoroquinolone class had the highest resistance rate at 23%, followed by ceftazidime, cefepime, and the carbapenem class with rates of ~15%–16%. All classes were noted to have decreased resistance over time (Fig. 2). Conclusions: Occurrences, mortality rate, and associated resistance of P. aeruginosa bacteremia across the VHA system generally decreased during the study period. Potential explanations for these observations include improved infection control measures, more effective therapeutic agents, and enhanced antimicrobial stewardship efforts. The increased mortality in 2020 could be related to concomitant COVID-19 or the result of delayed medical care in the pandemic setting. Limitations of this study include inability to identify causative factors for observed trends and potential variability between labs affecting the rates of observed resistance. Additionally, VHA data may not be representative of entire adult population. Future studies could explore the relationship between P. aeruginosa bacteremia and infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship efforts and could describe associations between P. aeruginosa and COVID-19 and identify risk factors associated with P. aeruginosa bacteremia and mortality.
Background: COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on nursing homes residents as well as people from racial and ethnic minorities. Whether differences in mortality due to COVID-19 exists for nursing-home residents from racial and ethnic minorities is less clear, with some previous studies reporting systems-level disparities. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has nursing homes, termed community living centers (CLCs), across the United States. We hypothesized that differences in COVID-19–related mortality among racial and ethnic minorities would be less pronounced among residents of CLCs. Methods: Using data from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse, we conducted a retrospective cohort study from April 14, 2020 (implementation of population-based testing) to December 10, 2020 (availability of a COVID-19 vaccine). Inclusion criteria were residents with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test while residing in or <48 hours before admission to a CLC. Positive tests <180 days after a prior positive test were excluded. We assessed the cohort for demographics, including self-reported race or ethnicity, clinical characteristics, and survival probability including all-cause 30-day mortality. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all-cause 30-day mortality that included race, ethnicity, age, and Charlson comorbidity index (CCI). Results: Among 14,759 CLC residents, 651 (4.4%) had a positive SARS-COV-2 test. Their mean age was 75.7 ± 11.3 years, and self-reported race or ethnicity was 68% White (445 of 651), 23% Black (152 of 651), and 4% Hispanic/Latinx (27 of 651). The mean CCI was lower among White residents than Black residents (4.15 ± 2.6 vs 4.61 ± 3.1, respectively). All-cause 30-day mortality for CLC residents following positive SARS-COV-2 test was 25% for White patients, 14% for Black patients, and 15% for Hispanic/Latinx patients (Fig. 1). Age (in years), but neither race or ethnicity nor CCI, was independently associated with all-cause 30-day mortality (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.05–1.09) in CLC residents with COVID-19. Conclusions: Among VA CLC residents with a positive COVID-19 test, minority CLC residents did not have worse outcomes than white residents, suggesting that users of the VA healthcare system may enjoy abrogation of some aspects of health disparities.
Background: The Veterans’ Affairs (VA) healthcare system has had established telehealth programs for several years. Even so, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an expansion of and changes in these services. Little is known about the influence of the increased use of telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic on antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient settings. Here, we report on changes in visit modality and antibiotic prescribing at primary care clinics at a large VA medical center after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Using VA administrative databases, we identified primary care visits from March 2018 to November 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) and March 2020 to November 2021 (during the COVID-19 pandemic), which permitted us to account for seasonality while analyzing visit modality and antibiotic trends. For primary care visits during the pre–COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods, we have described the type of visit (in-person or telehealth), diagnostic codes for any infection, and antibiotic prescriptions. Results: The patient population was primarily men (89%) with a mean age of 62.9 years (SD, ±15.3) at first visit. The most common medical conditions were diabetes mellitus (26%) and chronic lung disease (17%). Comparing visits during the pre–COVID-19 and the COVID-19 periods, the proportions of telehealth visits were 20% (17,708 of 88,565) and 74% (69,891 of 94,937), respectively (Fig. 1). The proportions of visits with an antibiotic prescription were 1.4% (1,212 of 88,565) and 0.8% (798 of 94,396), respectively. When considered by the type of visit, the rates of antibiotics prescribed were consistent during the pre–COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods, with a lower rate for telehealth visits (Fig. 2). In both periods, >50% of antibiotic prescriptions occurred during visits without an associated infectious disease diagnosis. Conclusions: Compared to the pre–COVID-19 period, primary care providers at a large VA medical center prescribed fewer antibiotics during the COVID-19 period, and they saw most of their patients via telehealth. These results suggest that some aspects of telehealth may support clinical practices consistent with antibiotic stewardship. The prescription of an antibiotic without an associated diagnostic code also suggests opportunities to improve implementation of antibiotic stewardship principles in primary care settings.
Funding: This work was supported by the Merck Investigator Studies Program (grant no. MISP 59266 to F.P. and R.J.) and by funds and facilities provided by the Cleveland Geriatric Research.
To assess the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria (R-GNB) among patients without recent hospitalization and to examine the influence of outpatient antibiotic exposure on the risk of acquiring R-GNB in this population.
2-year retrospective cohort study.
Regional Veterans Affairs healthcare system.
Outpatients at 13 community-based clinics.
We examined the rate of acquisition of R-GNB within 90 days following an outpatient visit from 2018 to 2019. We used clinical and administrative databases to determine and summarize prescriptions for systemic antibiotics, associated infectious diagnoses, and subsequent R-GNB acquisition among patients without recent hospitalizations. We also calculated the odds ratio of R-GNB acquisition following antibiotic exposure.
During the 2-year study period, 7,215 patients had outpatient visits with microbiological cultures obtained within 90 days. Of these patients, 206 (2.9%) acquired an R-GNB. Among patients receiving antibiotics at the visit, 4.6% acquired a R-GNB compared to 2.7% among patients who did not receive antibiotics, yielding an unadjusted odds ratio of 1.75 (95% confidence interval, 1.18–2.52) for a R-GNB following an outpatient visit with versus without an antibiotic exposure. Regardless of R-GNB occurrence, >50% of antibiotic prescriptions were issued at visits without an infectious disease diagnosis or issued without documentation of an in-person or telehealth clinical encounter.
Although the rate of R-GNBs was low (2.9%), the 1.75-fold increased odds of acquiring a R-GNB following an outpatient antibiotic highlights the importance of antimicrobial stewardship efforts in outpatient settings. Specific opportunities include reducing antibiotics prescribed without an infectious diagnosis or a clinical visit.
Background: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) can cause life-threating invasive infections, yet GBS is also a normal component of the intestinal and genitourinary tract. Although it is regarded as a potential urinary pathogen, the morbidity and mortality associated with recovery of GBS from urine cultures of nonpregnant adults is not well understood. We evaluated characteristics and mortality among nonpregnant adults with urine cultures that grew GBS. Methods: Using administrative data from the Veterans’ Healthcare Administration (VHA), we conducted a retrospective cohort study of VA healthcare system users from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2017, with monomicrobial urine cultures growing ≥100,000 colony-forming units of GBS. Urinary tract infection (UTI) cases were defined as urinalysis positive for leukocyte esterase and pyuria (≥10 white blood cells), an International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code for UTI, and an antibiotic prescription. Cases with colonization were defined as negative for leukocyte esterase and pyuria, no ICD code for UTI, and no antibiotic prescription. Cases not meeting either definition were deemed unclassifiable. We compared demographics, comorbidities, and all-cause mortality among these 3 groups. Results: Over the 10-year study period, 26,848 veterans had 30,740 urine cultures positive for GBS. Applying the definitions above, there were 2,807 cases of infection, 8,789 cases of colonization, and 15,252 cases that were unclassifiable. Patients with a GBS UTI were slightly older compared to those who were colonized, with a higher Charlson comorbidity index and greater burden of chronic renal disease (Table 1). Individuals with infection versus colonization had 30-day mortality rates of 1% and 0%, respectively, and 1-year mortality rates of 9% and 4%, respectively (Figure 1). Conclusions: The association of a greater burden of illness among veterans who met our definition of UTI compared to colonization might be more reflective of providers’ responses to patients with chronic medical conditions rather than a difference in GBS as a cause of UTI. Overall, the prospect of a urine culture that grows GBS does not appear to be associated with adverse long-term outcomes.
Background: The influence of increased use of telehealth during the emergence of COVID-19 on antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient settings is unknown. The VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System has 13 community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) that provide primary and preventive care. We assessed changes in antibiotic prescriptions that occurred as care shifted from in-person to telehealth visits. Methods: Using VHA administrative databases, we identified all primary care CBOC visits between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020, that included a diagnosis for an acute respiratory infection (ARI), a urinary tract infection (UTI), or a skin or soft-tissue infection (SSTI), excluding visits with >1 of these diagnoses or with additional infectious diagnoses (eg, pneumonia, influenza). We summarized the proportion of telehealth visits and the proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics at quarterly intervals. We specifically assessed outpatient visits from April to December 2019 compared to the same months in 2020 to account for seasonality while analyzing diagnosis and antibiotic trends in the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: The patients receiving care in April–December 2019 compared to April–December 2020 were similar (Table 1). From April through December 2019, 90% of CBOC primary care visits with a diagnosis for ARI, UTI, or SSTI were in-person, and antibiotics were prescribed at 63%, 46%, and 65% of visits in either modality, respectively (Figure 1). From April through December 2020, only 33% of CBOC primary care visits for ARI, UTI, and SSTI were in person, and antibiotics were prescribed at 46%, 38%, and 47% of visits in either modality, respectively. Comparing April–December in 2019 and 2020, the number of CBOC visits for ARI fell by 76% (2,152 visits to 509 visits), with a more modest decline of 20% and 35% observed for UTI and SSTI visits. In-person visits for ARIs and SSTIs were more likely than telehealth visits to result in an antibiotic prescription (Figure 2). Conclusions: Among the CBOCs at our healthcare system, an increase in the proportion of telehealth visits and a reduction in ARI diagnoses occurred after the emergence of COVID-19. In this setting, we observed a reduction in the proportion of visits for ARIs, UTIs, and SSTIs that included an antibiotic prescription.
Background: Outcomes among nursing home residents with asymptomatic compared to symptomatic COVID-19 are not well characterized. We assessed all-cause mortality among Veterans’ Affairs (VA) community living center (CLC) residents; we compared those residents with a negative SARS-CoV-2 test to residents with symptomatic, presymptomatic, and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. Methods: We conducted a national retrospective cohort study of CLC residents tested for COVID-19 between March 1 and July 31, 2020, based on data compiled through the VA COVID-19 shared data resource. Among those with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, residents were considered symptomatic if they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms in the 30 days prior to the test. Residents were considered presymptomatic if they did not experience symptoms in the 30 days prior to testing and developed a fever (>38°C) or required supplemental oxygen within 14 and 60 days, respectively, following the test. Residents were considered asymptomatic in the absence of these pre- and posttest symptoms. Results: From March 1 to July 31, 2020, of 9,052 CLC residents screened for COVID-19, 8,325 (92%) tested negative (Table 1). Among 727 residents with positive tests, 467 (64%) were symptomatic, 88 (12%) were presymptomatic, and 172 (24%) remained asymptomatic. We observed significant differences in the racial makeup of these disease groups. Among CLC residents who were symptomatic or presymptomatic, 176 (32%) of 555 were black compared to 39 (23%) of 172 who were asymptomatic and 1,810 (22%) of 8,325 who tested negative for SAR-CoV-2. All-cause 30-day mortality rates for symptomatic and presymptomatic residents were 25% and 34%, respectively, which exceeded the all-cause 30-day mortality of asymptomatic residents (12%) and residents with a negative test (6%) (Figure 1). Conclusions: More than one-third of CLC residents with COVID-19 were asymptomatic at the time of testing. This finding highlights the importance of vigilant infection prevention and control measures. Our finding that mortality among presymptomatic residents exceeded that of symptomatic residents raises consideration for enhancing supportive care measures, such as supplemental oxygen and mitigation of inflammatory reactions, as a means to reduce mortality among nursing home residents with presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections.
We examined the impact of microbiological results from respiratory samples on choice of antibiotic therapy in patients treated for hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) or ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).
Four-year retrospective study.
Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA).
VHA patients hospitalized with HAP or VAP and with respiratory cultures between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2018.
We compared patients with positive and negative respiratory culture results, assessing changes in antibiotic class and Antibiotic Spectrum Index (ASI) from the day of sample collection (day 0) through day 7.
Between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2018, we identified 5,086 patients with HAP/VAP: 2,952 with positive culture results and 2,134 with negative culture results. All-cause 30-day mortality was 21% for both groups. The mean time from respiratory sample receipt in the laboratory to final respiratory culture result was longer for those with positive (2.9 ± 1.3 days) compared to negative results (2.5 ± 1.3 days; P < .001). The most common pathogens were Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Vancomycin and β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors were the most commonly prescribed agents. The decrease in the median ASI from 13 to 8 between days 0 and 6 was similar among patients with positive and negative respiratory cultures. Patients with negative cultures were more likely to be off antibiotics from day 3 onward.
The results of respiratory cultures had only a small influence on antibiotics used during the treatment of HAP/VAP. The decrease in ASI for both groups suggests the integration of antibiotic stewardship principles, including de-escalation, into the care of patients with HAP/VAP.
Background: Rates of invasive infections caused by caused group B Streptococcus (GBS) are increasing among adults. The burden of noninvasive GBS infections, including pneumonia, has not been well characterized. Here, we compare comorbidities and mortality associated with invasive and noninvasive pneumonia caused by GBS. Methods: Using the Veterans’ Health Administration national data warehouse, we studied a retrospective cohort review of veterans diagnosed with GBS pneumonia between 2008 and 2017. Invasive pneumonia was defined as blood cultures positive for GBS associated with an order for a chest x-ray and an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code for pneumonia. Noninvasive pneumonia was defined as a respiratory culture positive for GBS associated with both an order for a chest x-ray and an ICD code for pneumonia among patients with negative or without blood cultures. Patients with respiratory cultures positive for GBS without either an associated chest x-ray or ICD code for pneumonia were considered colonized. We compared demographics, comorbid conditions, and mortality among patients with invasive and noninvasive GBS pneumonia. Results: Between 2008 and 2017, we detected 706 cases of invasive GBS pneumonia, 1,244 cases of noninvasive GBS pneumonia, and 1,470 cases of respiratory colonization with GBS. Most patients were male (97%), with an average age of 69.0 years (SD, 12.0 years). The prevalence of several comorbid conditions differed between those with invasive and noninvasive disease: diabetes mellitus (61% and 46%, respectively); chronic pulmonary diseases (53% and 65%, respectively); chronic heart disease (58% and 44%, respectively), chronic kidney disease (43% and 27%, respectively). Mortality was similar among those with invasive and noninvasive GBS pneumonia at 30 days (17% and 18%, respectively) and at 1 year (38% and 43%, respectively) (Fig. 1). Conclusions: We identified important differences in underlying comorbid conditions between patients with invasive and noninvasive GBS pneumonia, which may give rise to differences in their clinical presentation. Overall mortality, however, was similar: more than one-third of patients with GBS pneumonia died within 1 year. These findings indicate that noninvasive GBS pneumonia is an important clinical entity.
Background: The survival of patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is largely determined by the timely administration of effective antibiotic therapy. Guidelines for the treatment HAP and VAP recommend empiric treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics and tailoring of antibiotic therapy once results of microbiological testing are available. Objective: We examined the influence of bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing on antibiotic therapy for patients with HAP or VAP. Methods: We used the US Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA) database to identify a retrospective cohort of patients diagnosed with HAP or VAP between fiscal year 2015 and 2018. We further analyzed patients who were started on empiric antibiotic therapy, for whom microbiological test results from a respiratory sample were available within 7 days and who were alive within 48 hours of sample collection. We used the antibiotic spectrum index (ASI) to compare antibiotics prescribed the day before and the day after availability of bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing results. Results: We identified 4,669 cases of HAP and VAP in 4,555 VHA patients. The median time from respiratory sample receipt in the laboratory to final result of bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing was 2.22 days (IQR, 1.31–3.38 days). The most common pathogen was Staphylococcus aureus (n = 994), with methicillin resistance in 58% of those isolates tested. The next most common pathogen was Pseudomonas spp (n = 946 isolates). The susceptibility of antipseudomonal antibiotics, when tested, was as follows: 64% to carbapenems, 74% to cephalosporins, 75% to β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors, 69% to fluoroquinolones, and 95% to amikacin. Lactose-fermenting gram-negative bacteria (296 Escherichia coli and 360 Klebsiella pneumoniae) were also common. Among the 3,094 cases who received empiric antibiotic therapy, 607 (20%) had antibiotics stopped the day after antibiotic susceptibility results became available, 920 (30%) had a decrease in ASI, 1,075 (35%) had no change in ASI, and 492 (16%) had an increase in ASI (Fig. 1). Among the 1,098 patients who were not started on empiric antibiotic therapy, only 154 (14%) were started on antibiotic therapy the day after antibiotic susceptibility results became available. Conclusions: Changes in antibiotic therapy occurred in at least two-thirds of cases the day after bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility results became available. These results highlight how respiratory cultures can inform the treatment and improve antibiotic stewardship for patients with HAP/VAP.
Funding: This study was supported by Accelerate Diagnostics.
Previous reports have shown that people perceive lack of cooking skills as a barrier to adopting a plant-based diet (Reipurth et al., 2018; Klöckner, 2017; Haverstock and Forgays, 2012; Pohjolainen, Vinnari, and Jokinen, 2015; Mullee et al., 2017). Cooking skills have been defined as “a set of mechanical or physical skills used in meal preparation” by Ternier (2010), whereas some perceive them as more complex and abstract, involving ideas, knowledge, and planning skills (Short, 2003; Caraher, 1999). This mixed-method study was conducted with the aim of investigating the impact of cooking skills as a barrier, and which effect applied cooking skills have on consumers adopting and sustaining a plant-based diet. This was done by looking at people who had gained plant-based cooking skills by receiving a product that educated them in plant-based foods and delivered recipes and ingredients, with which the recipients cooked plant-based meals. The mixed-method study was comprised of a qualitative part (two focus group interviews with 10 participants) and a quantitative part (an online survey of 303 respondents).
The survey respondents were segmented based on their change in dietary habits after receiving the products, which was measured by their recalled change in intake of meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and plant-based foods. Four segments were identified; “Same All”, “Lower Omni Higher Plant”, “Lower Meat Higher Plant”, and “Lower Meat”. Clusters were profiled applying logistic regression models with cluster membership as the dependent variable, whereas the independent variables were the 12 attitudes towards consumption of plant-based diets, and the reasons for buying the product (also referred to as motivations), respectively.
The results from the qualitative study showed that the participants experienced minor changes while receiving the product, but lacked the menu planning skills, convenience, and habits necessary to maintain their plant-based diets after-wards. The results from the quantitative study suggested that changes towards plant-based consumption are affected by ethical factors, health, and sensory characteristics. A main finding of the quantitative survey was that it demonstrated how applying new cooking skills and experience with plant-based meals increase consumers’ intake of plant-based food and decrease their intake of animal products. This effect was greatest while receiving the product, although still evident up to six months after. The findings from the study concur with and add more depth to the findings from preceding literature on the subject and can be used to inform and inspire research towards promoting plant-based diets.
To compare the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and mortality of patients with bloodstream infections (BSI) caused by extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-EC) versus ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-KP) and to examine the differences in clinical characteristics and outcome between BSIs caused by isolates with CTX-M versus other ESBL genotypes
As part of the INCREMENT project, 33 tertiary hospitals in 12 countries retrospectively collected data on adult patients diagnosed with ESBL-EC BSI or ESBL-KP BSI between 2004 and 2013. Risk factors for ESBL-EC versus ESBL-KP BSI and for 30-day mortality were examined by bivariate analysis followed by multivariable logistic regression.
The study included 909 patients: 687 with ESBL-EC BSI and 222 with ESBL-KP BSI. ESBL genotype by polymerase chain reaction amplification of 286 isolates was available. ESBL-KP BSI was associated with intensive care unit admission, cardiovascular and neurological comorbidities, length of stay to bacteremia >14 days from admission, and a nonurinary source. Overall, 30-day mortality was significantly higher in patients with ESBL-KP BSI than ESBL-EC BSI (33.7% vs 17.4%; odds ratio, 1.64; P=.016). CTX-M was the most prevalent ESBL subtype identified (218 of 286 polymerase chain reaction-tested isolates, 76%). No differences in clinical characteristics or in mortality between CTX-M and non–CTX-M ESBLs were detected.
Clinical characteristics and risk of mortality differ significantly between ESBL-EC and ESBL-KP BSI. Therefore, all ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae should not be considered a homogeneous group. No differences in outcomes between genotypes were detected.
In this work, the degradation of methyl orange (MO) was analyzed by direct light with visible radiation (λ > 450 nm) of a dye solution in the presence of silicon nanowires (SiNWs) or silicon nanowires with copper nanoparticles (SiNWs-CuNPs). The SiNWs were synthesized by metal assisted etching from monocrystalline silicon wafers in aqueous HF / AgNO3 solution, and the CuNPs were deposited on the SiNWs via electroless. Discoloration with visible irradiation of aqueous methyl orange solution (C14H14N3NaOS) in the presence of SiNWs showed an efficiency of 71% after 120 min of illumination. The deposition of copper nanoparticles on the nanowires improves the efficiency of the photocatalytic reaction achieving 89% discoloration after 120 min exposure to visible light. The MO photocatalytic degradation with visible radiation in aqueous solution shows to be efficient in discoloration reaching up to 92% in a time of 150 min in the presence of SiNWs-CuNPs.