Australia-wide point prevalence survey of the use and appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing for children in hospital

J. Osowicki, A. Gwee, J. Noronha, P. Palasanthiran, B.J. Mcmullan, P.N. Britton, D.H. Isaacs, T. Lai, C.B. Nourse, M.L. Avent, P. Moriarty, J.E. Clark, J.R. Francis, Christopher Blyth, C.M. Cooper, P.A. Bryant

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    © 2014, Australasian Medical Publishing Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. Objectives: To describe antimicrobial use in hospitalised Australian children and to analyse the appropriateness of this antimicrobial use. Design: Multicentre single-day hospital-wide point prevalence survey, conducted in conjunction with the Antimicrobial Resistance and Prescribing in European Children study. Setting: Eight children's hospitals across five Australian states, surveyed during late spring and early summer 2012. Patients: Children and adolescents who were inpatients at 8 am on the day of the survey. Main outcome measures: Quantity and quality of antimicrobial prescribing. Results: Of 1373 patients, 631 (46%) were prescribed at least one antimicrobial agent, 198 (31%) of whom were <1 year old. The highest antimicrobial prescribing rates were in haematology and oncology wards (76% [95/125]) and paediatric intensive care units (55% [44/80]). Of 1174 antimicrobial prescriptions, 550 (47%) were for community-acquired infections, 175 (15%) were for hospital-acquired infections and 437 (37%) were for prophylaxis. Empirical treatment accounted for 72% of antimicrobial prescriptions for community-acquired infections and 58% for hospital-acquired infections (395 and 102 prescriptions, respectively). A total of 915 prescriptions (78%) were for antibacterials; antifungals and antivirals were predominantly used for prophylaxis. The most commonly prescribed antibacterials were narrow-spectrum penicillins (18% [164 prescriptions]), β-lactam–β-lactamase inhibitor combinations (15% [136]) and aminoglycosides (14% [128]). Overall, 957 prescriptions (82%) were deemed appropriate, but this varied between hospitals (range, 66% [74/112]) to 95% [165/174]) and specialties (range, 65% [122/187] to 94% [204/217]). Among surgical patients, 65 of 187 antimicrobial prescriptions (35%) were deemed inappropriate, and a common reason for this was excessive prophylaxis duration. Conclusion: A point prevalence survey is a useful cross-sectional method for quantifying antimicrobial use in paediatric populations. The value is significantly augmented by adding assessment of prescribing quality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)657-662
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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