Journal Article

Skin and Soft-Tissue Infections Requiring Hospitalization at an Academic Medical Center: Opportunities for Antimicrobial Stewardship

Timothy C. Jenkins, Allison L. Sabel, Ellen E. Sarcone, Connie S. Price, Philip S. Mehler and William J. Burman

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 51, issue 8, pages 895-903
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/656431
Skin and Soft-Tissue Infections Requiring Hospitalization at an Academic Medical Center: Opportunities for Antimicrobial Stewardship

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Background. Although complicated skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs) are among the most common infections requiring hospitalization, their clinical spectrum, management, and outcomes have not been well described.

Methods. We report a cohort of consecutive adult patients hospitalized for SSTI from 1 January through 31 December 2007 at an academic medical center. Cases meeting inclusion criteria were reviewed and classified as cellulitis, cutaneous abscess, or SSTI with additional complicating factors.

Results. In total, 322 patients were included; 66 (20%) had cellulitis, 103 (32%) had cutaneous abscess, and 153 (48%) had SSTI with additional complicating factors. Injection drug use, diabetes mellitus, and alcohol abuse were common comorbidities. Serum inflammatory markers were routinely measured and blood cultures and imaging studies were routinely performed in each group. Of 150 patients with a positive culture result for an abscess, deep tissue, or blood, Staphylococcus aureus or streptococci were identified in 145 (97%). Use of antibiotics with broad aerobic gram-negative activity (61%–80% of patients) or anaerobic activity (73%–83% of patients) was frequent in each group. The median duration of therapy for cellulitis, cutaneous abscess, and SSTI with additional complicating factors was 13 (interquartile range [IQR], 10–14), 13 (IQR, 10–16), and 14 (IQR, 11–17) days, respectively. Treatment failure, recurrence, or rehospitalization due to SSTI within 30 days occurred in 12.1%, 4.9%, and 9.2% of patients, respectively.

Conclusions. Hospitalizations for SSTI were common; more than half were due to cellulitis or cutaneous abscess. Frequent use of potentially unnecessary diagnostic studies, broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy, and prolonged treatment courses in these patients suggest targets for antimicrobial stewardship programs.

Journal Article.  3999 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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