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Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) cause ~5%–10% of infections in hospitalized children, leading to an increased risk of death, prolonged hospitalization, and additional costs. Antibiotic exposure is considered a driving factor of MDRO acquisition; however, consensus regarding the impact of antibiotic factors, especially in children, is lacking. We conducted a systematic review to examine the relationship between antibiotic use and subsequent healthcare-associated infection or colonization with an MDRO in children.
Systematic review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guideline.
We searched PubMed and Embase for all English, peer-reviewed original research studies published before September 2018. Included studies evaluated hospitalized children, antibiotic use as an exposure, and bacterial MDRO as an outcome.
Of the 535 studies initially identified, 29 met the inclusion criteria. Overall, a positive association was identified in most studies evaluating a specific antibiotic exposure (17 of 21, 81%), duration of antibiotics (9 of 12, 75%), and number of antibiotics received (2 of 3, 67%). Those studies that evaluated any antibiotic exposure had mixed results (5 of 10, 50%). Study sites, populations, and definitions of antibiotic use and MDROs varied widely.
Published studies evaluating this relationship are limited and are of mixed quality. Limitations include observation bias in recall of antibiotic exposure, variations in case definitions, and lack of evaluation of antibiotic dosing and appropriateness. Additional studies exploring the impact of antibiotic use and MDRO acquisition may be needed to develop effective antibiotic stewardship programs for hospitalized children.
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