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This project surveyed Veterans’ COVID-19 vaccination beliefs and status. 1,080 (30.8%) Veterans responded. Factors associated with being unvaccinated, identified using binomial logistic regression, included negative feelings about vaccines (OR = 3.88, 95%CI = 1.52, 9.90) and logistical difficulties such as finding transportation (OR = 1.95, 95%CI = 1.01, 3.45). This highlights the need for education about and access to vaccination.
Dentists prescribe 10% of all outpatient antibiotics in the United States and are the top specialty prescriber. Data on current antibiotic prescribing trends are scarce. Therefore, we evaluated trends in antibiotic prescribing rates by dentists, and we further assessed whether these trends differed by agent, specialty, and by patient characteristics.
Retrospective study of dental antibiotic prescribing included data from the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription Data set from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2019.
The change in the dentist prescribing rate and mean days’ supply were evaluated using linear regression models.
Dentists wrote >216 million antibiotic prescriptions between 2012 and 2019. The annual dental antibiotic prescribing rate remained steady over time (P = .5915). However, the dental prescribing rate (antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 dentists) increased in the Northeast (by 1,313 antibiotics per 1,000 dentists per year), among oral and maxillofacial surgeons (n = 13,054), prosthodontists (n = 2,381), endodontists (n = 2,255), periodontists (n = 1,961), and for amoxicillin (n = 2,562; P < .04 for all). The mean days’ supply significantly decreased over the study period by 0.023 days per 1,000 dentists per year (P < .001).
From 2012 to 2019, dental prescribing rates for antibiotics remained unchanged, despite decreases in antibiotic prescribing nationally and changes in guidelines during the study period. However, mean days’ supply decreased over time. Dental specialties, such as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, had the highest prescribing rate with increases over time. Antibiotic stewardship efforts to improve unnecessary prescribing by dentists and targeting dental specialists may decrease overall antibiotic prescribing rates by dentists.
To compare clinical outcomes associated with appropriate and inappropriate management of asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) and urinary tract infection (UTI) among inpatients with neurogenic bladder (NB).
Multicenter, retrospective cohort.
The study was conducted across 4 Veterans’ Affairs hospitals.
The study included veterans with NB due to spinal cord injury or disorder (SCI/D), multiple sclerosis (MS), or Parkinson’s disease (PD) hospitalized between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018, with diagnosis of ASB or UTI.
In a medical record review, we classified ASB and UTI diagnoses and treatments as appropriate or inappropriate based on national guidelines.
Main outcome measures:
Frequencies of Clostridioides difficile infection, acute kidney injury, 90-day hospital readmission, postculture length-of-stay (LOS), and multidrug-resistant organisms in subsequent urine cultures were compared between those who received appropriate and inappropriate management.
We included 170 encounters with ASB (30%) or UTI (70%) diagnoses occurring for 166 patients. Overall, 86.1% patients were male, 47.6% had SCI/D and 77.6% used bladder catheters. All ASB encounters had appropriate diagnoses, and 96.1% had appropriate treatment. In contrast, 37 UTI encounters (31.1%) had inappropriate diagnoses and 61 (51.3%) had inappropriate treatment, including 30 encounters with true ASB. Among patients with SCI/D or MS, appropriate ASB or UTI diagnosis was associated with a longer postculture LOS (median, 14 vs 7.5 days; P = .02). We did not detect any significant associations between appropriate versus inappropriate diagnosis and treatment and other outcomes.
Almost one-third of UTI diagnoses and half of treatments in hospitalized patients with NB are inappropriate. Opportunities exist to improve ASB and UTI management in patients with NB to minimize inappropriate antibiotic use.
To understand barriers and facilitators to evidence-based prescribing of antibiotics in the outpatient dental setting.
Outpatient dental setting.
Dentists from 40 Veterans’ Health Administration (VA) facilities across the United States.
Dentists were identified based on their prescribing patterns and were recruited to participate in a semistructured interview on perceptions toward prescribing. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and double-coded for analysis, with high reliability between coders. We identified general trends using the theoretical domains framework and mapped overarching themes onto the behavior change wheel to identify prospective interventions that improve evidence-based prescribing.
In total, 90 dentists participated in our study. The following barriers and facilitators to evidence-based prescribing emerged as impacts on a dentist’s decision making on prescribing an antibiotic: access to resources, social influence of peers and other care providers, clinical judgment, beliefs about consequences, local features of the clinic setting, and beliefs about capabilities.
Findings from this work reveal the need to increase awareness of up-to-date antibiotic prescribing behaviors in dentistry and may inform the best antimicrobial stewardship interventions to support dentists’ ongoing professional development and improve evidence-based prescribing.
To describe national trends in testing and detection of carbapenemases
produced by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) and associate
testing with culture and facility characteristics.
Retrospective cohort study.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs medical centers (VAMCs).
Patients seen at VAMCs between 2013 and 2018 with cultures positive for CRE,
defined by national VA guidelines.
Microbiology and clinical data were extracted from national VA data sets.
Carbapenemase testing was summarized using descriptive statistics.
Characteristics associated with carbapenemase testing were assessed with
Of 5,778 standard cultures that grew CRE, 1,905 (33.0%) had evidence of
molecular or phenotypic carbapenemase testing and 1,603 (84.1%) of these had
carbapenemases detected. Among these cultures confirmed as
carbapenemase-producing CRE, 1,053 (65.7%) had molecular testing for
≥1 gene. Almost all testing included KPC (n = 1,047, 99.4%), with KPC
detected in 914 of 1,047 (87.3%) cultures. Testing and detection of other
enzymes was less frequent. Carbapenemase testing increased over the study
period from 23.5% of CRE cultures in 2013 to 58.9% in 2018. The South US
Census region (38.6%) and the Northeast (37.2%) region had the highest
proportion of CRE cultures with carbapenemase testing. High complexity (vs
low) and urban (vs rural) facilities were significantly associated with
carbapenemase testing (P < .0001).
Between 2013 and 2018, carbapenemase testing and detection increased in the
VA, largely reflecting increased testing and detection of KPC. Surveillance
of other carbapenemases is important due to global spread and increasing
antibiotic resistance. Efforts supporting the expansion of carbapenemase
testing to low-complexity, rural healthcare facilities and standardization
of reporting of carbapenemase testing are needed.
To evaluate opportunities for assessing penicillin allergies among patients presenting to dental clinics.
Retrospective cross-sectional study.
VA dental clinics.
Adult patients with a documented penicillin allergy who received an antibiotic from a dentist between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2018, were included.
Chart reviews were completed on random samples of 100 patients who received a noncephalosporin antibiotic and 200 patients who received a cephalosporin. Each allergy was categorized by severity. These categories were used to determine patient eligibility for 3 testing groups based on peer-reviewed algorithms: (1) no testing, (2) skin testing, and (3) oral test-dose challenge. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were used to compare facility and patient demographics first between true penicillin allergy, pseudo penicillin allergy, and missing allergy documentation, and between those who received a cephalosporin and those who did not at the dental visit.
Overall, 19% lacked documentation of the nature of allergic reaction, 53% were eligible for skin testing, 27% were eligible for an oral test-dose challenge, and 1% were contraindicated from testing. Male patients and African American patients were less likely to receive a cephalosporin.
Most penicillin-allergic patients in the VA receiving an antibiotic from a dentist are eligible for penicillin skin testing or an oral penicillin challenge. Further research is needed to understand the role of dentists and dental clinics in assessing penicillin allergies.
To determine prophylaxis appropriateness by Veterans’ Affairs (VA) dentists.
A cross-sectional study of dental visits, 2015–2019.
Antibiotics within 7 days before a visit in the absence of an oral infection were included. Appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis was defined as visits with gingival manipulation and further delineated into narrow and broad definitions based on comorbidities. The primary analysis applied a narrow definition of appropriate prophylaxis: cardiac conditions at the highest risk of an adverse outcome from endocarditis. The secondary analysis included a broader definition: cardiac or immunocompromising condition or tooth extractions and/or implants. Multivariable log-linear Poisson generalized estimating equation regression was used to assess the association between covariates and unnecessary prophylaxis prescriptions.
In total, 358,078 visits were associated with 369,102 antibiotics. The median prescription duration was 7 days (IQR, 7–10); only 6.5% were prescribed for 1 day. With the narrow definition, 15% of prophylaxis prescriptions were appropriate, which increased to 72% with the broader definition. Prophylaxis inconsistent with guidelines increased over time. For the narrow definition, Black (vs White) race, Latine (vs non-Latine) ethnicity, and visits located in the West census region were associated with unnecessary prophylaxis. Variables associated with a lower risk were older age, prosthetic joints, immunocompromising condition, and rural location.
Of every 6 antibiotic prophylaxis prescriptions, 5 were inconsistent with guidelines. Improving prophylaxis appropriateness and shortening duration may have substantial implications for stewardship. Guidelines should state whether antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated for extractions, implants, and immunocompromised patients.
Among 108 (0.05% of cohort) US veterans with a Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) within 30 days of a dental antibiotic prescription, 80% of patients received guideline-discordant antibiotics. Half had chronic gastrointestinal illness potentially exacerbating their CDI risk. More efforts are needed to improve antibiotic stewardship.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are a high-priority group for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination and serve as sources for public information. In this analysis, we assessed vaccine intentions, factors associated with intentions, and change in uptake over time in HCWs.
A prospective cohort study of COVID-19 seroprevalence was conducted with HCWs in a large healthcare system in the Chicago area. Participants completed surveys from November 25, 2020, to January 9, 2021, and from April 24 to July 12, 2021, on COVID-19 exposures, diagnosis and symptoms, demographics, and vaccination status.
Of 4,180 HCWs who responded to a survey, 77.1% indicated that they intended to get the vaccine. In this group, 23.2% had already received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, 17.4% were unsure, and 5.5% reported that they would not get the vaccine. Factors associated with intention or vaccination were being exposed to clinical procedures (vs no procedures: adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16–1.65) and having a negative serology test for COVID-19 (vs no test: AOR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.24–1.73). Nurses (vs physicians: AOR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.17–0.33), non-Hispanic Black (vs Asians: AOR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.21–0.59), and women (vs men: AOR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.30–0.50) had lower odds of intention to get vaccinated. By 6-months follow-up, >90% of those who had previously been unsure were vaccinated, whereas 59.7% of those who previously reported no intention of getting vaccinated, were vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccination in HCWs was high, but variability in vaccination intention exists. Targeted messaging coupled with vaccine mandates can support uptake.
Ceftazidime/avibactam (C/A), ceftolozane/tazobactam (C/T), imipenem/relebactam (I/R), and meropenem/vaborbactam (M/V) combine either a cephalosporin (C/T and C/A) or a carbapenem antibiotic (M/V and I/R) with a β-lactamase inhibitor. They are used to treat carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) and/or multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MDRPA).
We compared the pooled clinical success of these medications to older therapies.
PubMed and EMBASE were searched from January 1, 2012, through September 2, 2020, for C/A, C/T, I/R, and M/V studies. The main outcome was clinical success, which was assessed using random-effects models. Stratified analyses were conducted for study drug, sample size, quality, infection source, study design, and multidrug-resistant gram-negative organism (MDRGNO) population. Microbiological success and 28- and 30-day mortality were assessed as secondary outcomes. Heterogeneity was determined using I2 values.
Overall, 25 articles met the inclusion criteria; 8 observational studies and 17 randomized control trials. We detected no difference in clinical success comparing new combination antibiotics with standard therapies for all included organisms (pooled OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.96–1.51). We detected a moderate level of heterogeneity among the included studies I2 = 56%. Studies that focused on patients with CRE or MDRPA infections demonstrated a strong association between treatment with new combination antibiotics and clinical success (pooled OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.60–3.57).
C/T, C/A, I/R, and M/V are not inferior to standard therapies for treating various complicated infections, but they may have greater clinical success for treating MDRPA and CRE infections. More studies that evaluate the use of these antibiotics for drug-resistant infections are needed to determine their effectiveness.
We assessed trends in treatment of patients with CRE from 2012 through 2018. We detected decreased utilization of aminoglycosides and colistin and increased utilization in extended-spectrum cephalosporins and ceftazidime-avibactam. We found significant uptake of ceftazidime-avibactam, a newly approved antibiotic, to treat CRE infections.
To determine the changes in severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serologic status and SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in healthcare workers (HCWs) over 6-months of follow-up.
Prospective cohort study.
Setting and participants:
HCWs in the Chicago area.
Cohort participants were recruited in May and June 2020 for baseline serology testing (Abbott anti-nucleocapsid IgG) and were then invited for follow-up serology testing 6 months later. Participants completed monthly online surveys that assessed demographics, medical history, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and exposures to SARS-CoV-2. The electronic medical record was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positivity during follow-up. Serologic conversion and SARS-CoV-2 infection or possible reinfection rates (cases per 10,000 person days) by antibody status at baseline and follow-up were assessed.
In total, 6,510 HCWs were followed for a total of 1,285,395 person days (median follow-up, 216 days). For participants who had baseline and follow-up serology checked, 285 (6.1%) of the 4,681 seronegative participants at baseline seroconverted to positive at follow-up; 138 (48%) of the 263 who were seropositive at baseline were seronegative at follow-up. When analyzed by baseline serostatus alone, 519 (8.4%) of 6,194 baseline seronegative participants had a positive PCR after baseline serology testing (4.25 per 10,000 person days). Of 316 participants who were seropositive at baseline, 8 (2.5%) met criteria for possible SARS-CoV-2 reinfection (ie, PCR positive >90 days after baseline serology) during follow-up, a rate of 1.27 per 10,000 days at risk. The adjusted rate ratio for possible reinfection in baseline seropositive compared to infection in baseline seronegative participants was 0.26 (95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.53).
Seropositivity in HCWs is associated with moderate protection from future SARS-CoV-2 infection.
To assess the effectiveness and acceptability of antimicrobial stewardship-focused implementation strategies on inpatient fluoroquinolones.
Stewardship champions at 15 hospitals were surveyed regarding the use and acceptability of strategies to improve fluoroquinolone prescribing. Antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present (DP) for sites with and without prospective audit and feedback (PAF) and/or prior approval were compared.
Among all of the sites, 60% had PAF or prior approval implemented for fluoroquinolones. Compared to sites using neither strategy (64.2 ± 34.4 DOT/DP), fluoroquinolone prescribing rates were lower for sites that employed PAF and/or prior approval (35.5 ± 9.8; P = .03) and decreased from 2017 to 2018 (P < .001). This decrease occurred without an increase in advanced-generation cephalosporins. Total antibiotic rates were 13% lower for sites with PAF and/or prior approval, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P = .20). Sites reporting that PAF and/or prior approval were “completely” accepted had lower fluoroquinolone rates than sites where it was “moderately” accepted (34.2 ± 5.7 vs 48.7 ± 4.5; P < .01). Sites reported that clinical pathways and/or local guidelines (93%), prior approval (93%), and order forms (80%) “would” or “may” be effective in improving fluoroquinolone use. Although most sites (73%) indicated that requiring infectious disease consults would or may be effective in improving fluoroquinolones, 87% perceived implementation to be difficult.
PAF and prior approval implementation strategies focused on fluoroquinolones were associated with significantly lower fluoroquinolone prescribing rates and nonsignificant decreases in total antibiotic use, suggesting limited evidence for class substitution. The association of acceptability of strategies with lower rates highlights the importance of culture. These results may indicate increased acceptability of implementation strategies and/or sensitivity to FDA warnings.
United States dentists prescribe 10% of all outpatient antibiotics. Assessing appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing has been challenging due to a lack of guidelines for oral infections. In 2019, the American Dental Association (ADA) published clinical practice guidelines (CPG) on the management of acute oral infections. Our objective was to describe baseline national antibiotic prescribing for acute oral infections prior to the release of the ADA CPG and to identify patient-level variables associated with an antibiotic prescription.
We performed an analysis of national VA data from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017. We identified cases of acute oral infections using International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes. Antibiotics prescribed by a dentist within ±7 days of a visit were included. Multivariable logistic regression identified patient-level variables associated with an antibiotic prescription.
Of the 470,039 VA dental visits with oral infections coded, 12% of patient visits with irreversible pulpitis, 17% with apical periodontitis, and 28% with acute apical abscess received antibiotics. Although the median days’ supply was 7, prolonged use of antibiotics was frequent (≥8 days, 42%–49%). Patients with high-risk cardiac conditions, prosthetic joints, and endodontic, implant, and oral and maxillofacial surgery dental procedures were more likely to receive antibiotics.
Most treatments of irreversible pulpitis and apical periodontitis cases were concordant with new ADA guidelines. However, in cases where antibiotics were prescribed, prolonged antibiotic courses >7 days were frequent. These findings demonstrate opportunities for the new ADA guidelines to standardize and improve dental prescribing practices.
To characterize postextraction antibiotic prescribing patterns, predictors for antibiotic prescribing and the incidence of and risk factors for postextraction oral infection.
Retrospective analysis of a random sample of veterans who received tooth extractions from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.
VA dental clinics.
Overall, 69,610 patients met inclusion criteria, of whom 404 were randomly selected for inclusion. Adjunctive antibiotics were prescribed to 154 patients (38.1%).
Patients who received or did not receive an antibiotic were compared for the occurrence of postextraction infection as documented in the electronic health record. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with antibiotic receipt.
There was no difference in the frequency of postextraction oral infection identified among patients who did and did not receive antibiotics (4.5% vs 3.2%; P = .59). Risk factors for postextraction infection could not be identified due to the low frequency of this outcome. Patients who received antibiotics were more likely to have a greater number of teeth extracted (aOR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.03–1.18), documentation of acute infection at time of extraction (aOR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.57–5.82), molar extraction (aOR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.10–2.86) and extraction performed by an oral maxillofacial surgeon (aOR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.44–3.58) or specialty dentist (aOR, 5.77; 95% CI, 2.05–16.19).
Infectious complications occurred at a low incidence among veterans undergoing tooth extraction who did and did not receive postextraction antibiotics. These results suggest that antibiotics have a limited role in preventing postprocedural infection; however, future studies are necessary to more clearly define the role of antibiotics for this indication.
This is an epidemiological study of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in Veterans’ Affairs medical centers (VAMCs). In 2017, almost 75% of VAMCs had at least 1 CRE case. We observed substantial geographic variability, with more cases in urban, complex facilities. This supports the benefit of tailoring infection control strategies to facility characteristics.
Although infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii are often healthcare-acquired, difficult to treat, and associated with high mortality, epidemiologic data for this organism are limited. We describe the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and outcomes for patients with extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (XDRAB).
Retrospective cohort study
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs)
Patients with XDRAB cultures (defined as nonsusceptible to at least 1 agent in all but 2 or fewer classes) at VAMCs between 2012 and 2018.
Microbiology and clinical data was extracted from national VA datasets. We used descriptive statistics to summarize patient characteristics and outcomes and bivariate analyses to compare outcomes by culture source.
Among 11,546 patients with 15,364 A. baumannii cultures, 408 (3.5%) patients had 667 (4.3%) XDRAB cultures. Patients with XDRAB were older (mean age, 68 years; SD, 12.2) with median Charlson index 3 (interquartile range, 1–5). Respiratory specimens (n = 244, 36.6%) and urine samples (n = 187, 28%) were the most frequent sources; the greatest proportion of patients were from the South (n = 162, 39.7%). Most patients had had antibiotic exposures (n = 362, 88.7%) and hospital or long-term care admissions (n = 331, 81%) in the prior 90 days. Polymyxins, tigecycline, and minocycline demonstrated the highest susceptibility. Also, 30-day mortality (n = 96, 23.5%) and 1-year mortality (n = 199, 48.8%) were high, with significantly higher mortality in patients with blood cultures.
The proportion of Acinetobacter baumannii in the VA that was XDR was low, but treatment options are extremely limited and clinical outcomes were poor. Prevention of healthcare-associated XDRAB infection should remain a priority, and novel antibiotics for XDRAB treatment are urgently needed.
A survey of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers on control of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and carbapenem-producing CRE (CP-CRE) demonstrated that most facilities use VA guidelines but few screen for CRE/CP-CRE colonization regularly or regularly communicate CRE/CP-CRE status at patient transfer. Most respondents were knowledgeable about CRE guidelines but cited lack of adequate resources.