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We evaluated the adequacy of microbiological tests in patients withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (WLST) at the end stage of life.
The study was conducted at 2 tertiary-care referral hospitals in Daegu, Republic of Korea.
Retrospective cross-sectional study.
Demographic findings, clinical and epidemiological characteristics, statistics of microbiological tests, and microbial species isolated from patients within 2 weeks before death were collected in 2 tertiary-care referral hospitals from January to December 2018. We also reviewed the antimicrobial treatment that was given within 3 days of microbiological testing in patients on WLST.
Of the 1,187 hospitalized patients included, 905 patients (76.2%) had WLST. The number of tests per 1,000 patient days was higher after WLST than before WLST (242.0 vs 202.4). Among the category of microbiological tests, blood cultures were performed most frequently, and their numbers per 1,000 patient days before and after WLST were 95.9 and 99.0, respectively. The positive rates of blood culture before and after WLST were 17.2% and 18.0%, respectively. Candida spp. were the most common microbiological species in sputum (17.4%) and urine (48.2%), and Acinetobacter spp. were the most common in blood culture (17.3%). After WLST determination, 70.5% of microbiological tests did not lead to a change in antibiotic use.
Many unnecessary microbiological tests are being performed in patients with WLST within 2 weeks of death. Microbiological testing should be performed carefully and in accordance with the patient’s treatment goals.
We report our experience with an emergency room (ER) shutdown related to an accidental exposure to a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who had not been isolated.
A 635-bed, tertiary-care hospital in Daegu, South Korea.
To prevent nosocomial transmission of the disease, we subsequently isolated patients with suspected symptoms, relevant radiographic findings, or epidemiology. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays (RT-PCR) were performed for most patients requiring hospitalization. A universal mask policy and comprehensive use of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. We analyzed effects of these interventions.
From the pre-shutdown period (February 10–25, 2020) to the post-shutdown period (February 28 to March 16, 2020), the mean hourly turnaround time decreased from 23:31 ±6:43 hours to 9:27 ±3:41 hours (P < .001). As a result, the proportion of the patients tested increased from 5.8% (N=1,037) to 64.6% (N=690) (P < .001) and the average number of tests per day increased from 3.8±4.3 to 24.7±5.0 (P < .001). All 23 patients with COVID-19 in the post-shutdown period were isolated in the ER without any problematic accidental exposure or nosocomial transmission. After the shutdown, several metrics increased. The median duration of stay in the ER among hospitalized patients increased from 4:30 hours (interquartile range [IQR], 2:17–9:48) to 14:33 hours (IQR, 6:55–24:50) (P < .001). Rates of intensive care unit admissions increased from 1.4% to 2.9% (P = .023), and mortality increased from 0.9% to 3.0% (P = .001).
Problematic accidental exposure and nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 can be successfully prevented through active isolation and surveillance policies and comprehensive PPE use despite longer ER stays and the presence of more severely ill patients during a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
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