To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Antibiotic exposure increases the risk of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. Many centers use at least 48 hours of antibiotics in the evaluation of early-onset sepsis (EOS, <72 hours after birth), yet most important pathogens grow within 24 hours. We investigated the safety and efficacy of reducing empiric antibiotic duration to 24 hours.
Quality improvement study.
A tertiary-care neonatal intensive care unit.
Inborn infants <35 weeks gestational age at birth (ie, preterm) admitted January 2019 through December 2020.
In December 2019, we changed the recommended duration of empiric antibiotics for negative EOS evaluations from 48 hours to 24 hours.
Patient characteristics before and after the intervention were similar. After the intervention, 71 preterm infants (57%) with negative EOS evaluations received ≤24 hours of antibiotics, an increase from 15 (10%) before the intervention. These 71 infants comprised 77% of infants with negative EOS blood cultures after excluding those treated as clinical sepsis (≥5 days of antibiotics). For all negative EOS blood cultures, the mean treatment duration decreased by 0.5 days from 3.9 days to 3.4 days. This finding equated to 2.4 fewer antibiotic days per 100 patient days for negative EOS blood cultures but similar antibiotic days per 30 patient days (7.2 days vs 7.5 days). This measure did not change over time. Subsequent sepsis evaluations <7 days after a negative EOS blood culture did not increase. Excluding contaminants, the median time to positivity was 13.2 hours (range, 8–23) in 8 positive blood cultures.
Implementation of a 24-hour antibiotic course for negative EOS evaluations safely reduced antibiotic exposure in 77% of infants <35 weeks gestational age at birth in whom EOS was ruled out. All clinically significant pathogens grew within 24 hours.
Antibiotics are widely used in very low-birth-weight infants (VLBW, <1500 g), and excess exposure, particularly to broad-spectrum antibiotics, is associated with significant morbidity. An antibiotic spectrum index (ASI) quantifies antibiotic exposure by relative antimicrobial activity, adding information to exposure measured by days of therapy (DOT). We compared ASI and DOT across multiple centers to evaluate differences in antibiotic exposures.
We extracted data from patients admitted to 3 level-4 NICUs for 2 years at 2 sites and for 1 year at a third site. We calculated the ASI per antibiotic days and DOT per patient days for all admitted VLBW infants <32 weeks gestational age. Clinical variables were compared as percentages or as days per 1,000 patient days. We used Kruskal-Wallis tests to compare continuous variables across the 3 sites.
Demographics were similar for the 734 VLBW infants included. The site with the highest DOT per patient days had the lowest ASI per antibiotic days and the site with the highest mortality and infection rates had the highest ASI per antibiotic days. Antibiotic utilization varied by center, particularly for choice of broad-spectrum coverage, although the organisms causing infection were similar.
An antibiotic spectrum index identified differences in prescribing practice patterns among 3 NICUs unique from those identified by standard antibiotic use metrics. Site differences in infection rates and unit practices or guidelines for prescribing antibiotics were reflected in the ASI. This comparison uncovered opportunities to improve antibiotic stewardship and demonstrates the utility of this metric for comparing antibiotic exposures among NICU populations.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.