Journal Article

Variability of treatment duration for bacteraemia in the critically ill: a multinational survey

Alberto Corona, Guido Bertolini, Anna Maria Ricotta, A. J. Peter Wilson and Mervyn Singer

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 52, issue 5, pages 849-852
Published in print November 2003 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online November 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Variability of treatment duration for bacteraemia in the critically ill: a multinational survey

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  • Medical Oncology
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Objectives: No definitive evidence is available to inform ‘best’ antibiotic practice for treating bacteraemia in the critically ill patient, either in terms of duration of therapy, or the use of mono- versus combination therapy. We therefore undertook a large-scale international survey to assess the variability of current practice.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to membership lists of national and international intensive care societies.

Results: Responses from 254 intensive care units in 34 countries revealed a wide variation in antibiotic strategy for all types of bacteraemia, ranging from short course (≤5 days) therapy with restricted-spectrum antibiotics, to long course (≥10 days) use of broad-spectrum combinations. Two factors were significantly associated with antibiotic prescribing practice, namely the country of origin (in those with ≥10 responders) and the level of microbiologist and/or infectious diseases specialist input. The greater the specialist input, the shorter the duration of therapy (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: The wide variability in antibiotic prescribing patterns suggests an urgent need to produce high-quality evidence to identify optimal antibiotic prescribing policies for bacteraemia in the critically ill patient.

Keywords: Keywords: intensive care, antibiotics, sepsis, infections

Journal Article.  1635 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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