Differential Outcome of an Antimicrobial Stewardship Audit and Feedback Program in Two Intensive Care Units

A Controlled Interrupted Time Series Study

Linda R. Taggart; Elizabeth Leung; Matthew P. Muller; Larissa M. Matukas; Nick Daneman


BMC Infect Dis. 2015;15(480) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Antimicrobial decision making in intensive care units (ICUs) is challenging. Unnecessary antimicrobials contribute to the development of resistant pathogens, Clostridium difficile infection and drug related adverse events. However, inadequate antimicrobial therapy is associated with mortality in critically ill patients. Antimicrobial stewardship programs are increasingly being implemented to improve antimicrobial prescribing, but the optimal approach in the ICU setting is unknown. We assessed the impact of an audit and feedback antimicrobial stewardship intervention on antimicrobial use, antimicrobial costs, clinical outcomes and microbiologic outcomes in two ICUs with different patient populations.

Methods: The audit and feedback intervention was implemented in a trauma and neurosurgery ICU (TNICU) and a medical surgical ICU (MSICU) at a 465-bed teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada. ICU patients were reviewed Monday to Friday by a physician and pharmacist with infectious diseases training. Recommendations related to appropriate antimicrobial use were presented to ICU teams during a dedicated daily meeting. A controlled interrupted time series analysis was used to compare outcomes in the 12 months before and after the intervention. Cardiovascular and coronary care ICUs served as control units.

Results: Mean total monthly antimicrobial use in defined daily doses (DDD) per 1000 patient days was reduced 28 % in the TNICU (1433 vs. 1037) but increased 14 % in the MSICU (1705 vs. 1936). In the time series analysis, total monthly antimicrobial use in the TNICU decreased by 375 DDD per 1000 patient days (p < 0.0009) immediately following the intervention, followed by a non-significant downward trend in use of −9 DDD per 1000 patient days (p = 0.56). No significant changes in antimicrobial use were identified in the MSICU. Antimicrobial use temporarily increased in one control unit and remained unchanged in the other. There were no changes in mortality, length of stay, readmission rate, incidence of C. difficile infection or resistance patterns of E. coli and P. aeruginosa in either intervention unit.

Conclusions: Audit and feedback antimicrobial stewardship programs can lead to significant reductions in total antimicrobial use in the ICU setting. However, this effect may be context-dependent and further work is needed to determine the ingredients necessary for success.