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The use of bloodstream infection mortality to measure the impact of antimicrobial stewardship interventions: assessing the evidence

Sonali Coulter, Jason A. Roberts, Krispin Hajkowicz, Kate Halton
  • Sonali Coulter
    Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia |
  • Jason A. Roberts
    Burns Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane; Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  • Krispin Hajkowicz
    Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  • Kate Halton
    Faculty of Health, School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia


This review sets out to evaluate the current evidence on the impact of inappropriate therapy on bloodstream infections (BSI) and associated mortality. Based on the premise that better prescribing practices should result in better patient outcomes, BSI mortality may be a useful metric to evaluate antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) interventions. A systematic search was performed in key medical databases to identify papers published in English between 2005 and 2015 that examined the association between inappropriate prescribing and BSI mortality in adult patients. Only studies that included BSIs caused by ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium/faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species) organisms were included. Study quality was assessed using the GRADE criteria and results combined using a narrative synthesis. We included 46 studies. Inappropriate prescribing was associated with an overall increase in mortality in BSI. In BSI caused by resistant gram positive organisms, such as methicillin resistant S. aureus, inappropriate therapy resulted in up to a 3-fold increase in mortality. In BSI caused by gram negative (GN) resistant organisms a much greater impact ranging from 3 to 25 fold increase in the risk of mortality was observed. While the overall quality of the studies is limited by design and the variation in the definition of appropriate prescribing, there appears to be some evidence to suggest that inappropriate prescribing leads to increased mortality in patients due to GN BSI. The highest impact of inappropriate prescribing was seen in patients with GN BSI, which may be a useful metric to monitor the impact of AMS interventions.


Antimicrobial stewardship; bloodstream infection; mortality; antibiotic resistance; ESKAPE organism

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Submitted: 2016-08-27 13:06:31
Published: 2017-03-30 09:14:42
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Copyright (c) 2017 Sonali Coulter, Jason A Roberts, Kate Halton, Krispin Hajkowicz

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