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Antimicrobial Stewardship and Improved Antibiotic Utilization in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

BACKGROUND: We developed a multidisciplinary antimicrobial stewardship team to optimize antimicrobial use within the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. A quality improvement initiative was conducted to decrease unnecessary broad-spectrum antibiotic use by 20%, with sustained change over 12 months.

METHODS: We conducted this quality improvement initiative within a quaternary care center. PDSA cycles focused on antibiotic overuse, provider education, and practice standardization. The primary outcome measure was days of therapy (DOT)/1000 patient days. Process measures included electronic medical record order-set use. Balancing measures focused on alternative antibiotic use, overall mortality, and sepsis-related mortality. Data were analyzed using statistical process control charts.

RESULTS: A significant and sustained decrease in DOT was observed for vancomycin and meropenem. Vancomycin use decreased from a baseline of 198 DOT to 137 DOT, a 31% reduction. Meropenem use decreased from 103 DOT to 34 DOT, a 67% reduction. These changes were sustained over 24 months. The collective use of gram-negative antibiotics, including meropenem, cefepime, and piperacillin-tazobactam, decreased from a baseline of 323 DOT to 239 DOT, a reduction of 26%. There was no reciprocal increase in cefepime or piperacillin-tazobactam use. Key interventions involved electronic medical record changes, including automatic stop times and empiric antibiotic standardization. All-cause mortality remained unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: The initiation of a dedicated antimicrobial stewardship initiative resulted in a sustained reduction in meropenem and vancomycin usage. Interventions did not lead to increased utilization of alternative broad-spectrum antimicrobials or increased mortality. Future interventions will target additional broad-spectrum antimicrobials.

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