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Smart prescribing strategies improve antibiotic stewardship



Revisit need for antibiotics at discharge

Hospitalists also can practice antibiotic stewardship by considering four points at patient discharge, said Dr. Vaughn.

First, consider whether antibiotics can be stopped. For example, antibiotics are not needed on discharge if infection is no longer the most likely diagnosis, or if the course of antibiotics has been completed, as is often the case for patients hospitalized with CAP, she noted.

Second, if the antibiotics can’t be stopped at the time of discharge, consider whether the preferred agent is being used. Third, be sure the patient is receiving the minimum duration of antibiotics, and fourth, be sure that the dose, indication, and total planned duration with start and stop dates is written in the discharge summary, said Dr. Vaughn. “This helps with communication to our outpatient providers as well as with education to the patients themselves.”

Bacterial coinfections rare in COVID-19

Dr. Vaughn concluded the session with data from a study she conducted with colleagues on the use of empiric antibacterial therapy and community-onset bacterial coinfection in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The study included 1,667 patients at 32 hospitals in Michigan. The number of patients treated with antibiotics varied widely among hospitals, from 30% to as much as 90%, Dr. Vaughn said.

“What we found was that more than half of hospitalized patients with COVID (57%) received empiric antibiotic therapy in the first few days of hospitalization,” she said.

However, “despite all the antibiotic use, community-onset bacterial coinfections were rare,” and occurred in only 3.5% of the patients, meaning that the number needed to treat with antibiotics to prevent a single case was about 20.

Predictors of community-onset co-infections in the patients included older age, more severe disease, patients coming from nursing homes, and those with lower BMI or kidney disease, said Dr. Vaughn. She and her team also found that procalcitonin’s positive predictive value was 9.3%, but the negative predictive value was 98.3%, so these patients were extremely likely to have no coinfection.

Dr. Vaughn said that in her practice she might order procalcitonin when considering stopping antibiotics in a patient with COVID-19 and make a decision based on the negative predictive value, but she emphasized that she does not use it in the converse situation to rely on a positive value when deciding whether to start antibiotics in these patients.

Dr. Vaughn had no financial conflicts to disclose.


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