Length of stay and hospital costs associated with a pharmacodynamic-based clinical pathway for empiric antibiotic choice for ventilator-associated pneumonia

Anthony M Nicasio, Kathryn J Eagye, Effie L Kuti, David P Nicolau, Joseph L Kuti
Pharmacotherapy 2010, 30 (5): 453-62

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine hospital costs associated with the use of a clinical pathway implemented in our intensive care units (ICUs) to optimize antibiotic regimen selection for patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) compared with costs in a historical control group treated according to prescriber preference.

DESIGN: Retrospective cost analysis from the hospital perspective.

SETTING: Single, tertiary-care medical center.

PATIENTS: One hundred sixty-six adults with VAP from the medical, surgical, and neurotrauma ICUs (73 historical control patients [2004-2005] and 93 patients given an empiric antibiotic clinical pathway for VAP [2006-2007]).

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The VAP clinical pathway consisted of an ICU-specific three-drug regimen that considered local minimum inhibitory concentration distributions and a pharmacodynamically optimized dosing strategy. Hospital cost data were collected and inflated to 2007 according to the consumer price index. The VAP-related length of treatment, hospitalization costs, and antibiotic costs were compared between groups. The median VAP length of treatment was 24 days (interquartile range [IQR] 13-35 days] and 11 days (IQR 7-17 days) for historical and clinical pathway groups, respectively (p<0.001). Daily hospital costs were similar for both cohorts over the first 7 days, after which costs declined significantly for patients treated with the clinical pathway (p<0.001). When controlling for baseline differences between groups and length of stay before development of VAP, patients treated with the clinical pathway had shorter lengths of ICU stay after VAP, shorter total hospital lengths of stay after VAP, and lower hospital costs after the treatment of VAP. Median total antibiotic costs for individual patients were similar between groups ($535 [IQR $261-998] vs $482 [IQR $222-985] clinical pathway vs control, p=0.45), and the proportion of VAP hospital resources consumed by antibiotics for both groups was low.

CONCLUSION: Although aggressive dosing of more costly antibiotics was empirically prescribed using the clinical pathway, patients in this group exhibited a shorter duration of treatment, reduced hospital length of stay after VAP, and lower hospital costs without any significant increase in antibiotic expenditures.

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