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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 Apr;33(4):346-53. doi: 10.1086/664761.

Rates and appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing at an academic children's hospital, 2007-2010.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



Antimicrobial use in hospitalized children has not been well described. To identify targets for antimicrobial stewardship interventions, we retrospectively examined pediatric utilization rates for 48 antimicrobials from 2007 to 2010 as well as appropriateness of vancomycin and cefepime use in 2010.


All children hospitalized between 2007 and 2010 at the Mayo Clinic Children's Hospital, a 120-bed facility within a larger adult hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.


We calculated antimicrobial utilization rates in days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days. Details of vancomycin and cefepime use in 2010 were abstracted by chart review. Two pediatric infectious disease physicians independently assessed appropriateness of antibiotic use.


From 2007 to 2010, 9,880 of 17,242 (57%) hospitalized children received 1 or more antimicrobials. Antimicrobials (days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days) used most frequently in 2010 were cefazolin (97.8), vancomycin (97.1), fluconazole (76.4), piperacillin-tazobactam (70.7), and cefepime (67.6). Utilization rates increased significantly from 2007 to 2010 for 10 antimicrobials, including vancomycin, fluconazole, piperacillin-tazobactam, cefepime, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, caspofungin, and cefotaxime. In 2010, inappropriate use of vancomycin and cefepime was greater in the pediatric intensive care unit than ward (vancomycin: 17.8% vs 6.4%, P = .001; cefepime: 9.2% vs 3.9%, P = .142) and on surgical versus medical services (vancomycin: 20.5% vs 8.0%, P = .001; cefepime: 19.4% vs 3.4%, P ≤ .001). The most common reason for inappropriate antibiotic use was failure to discontinue or de-escalate therapy.


In our children's hospital, use of 10 antimicrobials increased during the study period. Inappropriate use of vancomycin and cefepime was greatest on the critical care and surgical services, largely as a result of failure to de-escalate therapy, suggesting targets for future antimicrobial stewardship interventions.

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