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QJM. 1996 Oct;89(10):789-97.

Impact of an infection consultation service for bacteraemia on clinical management and use of resources.

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  • 1Infection & Immunodeficiency Service, Dundee Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, King's Cross Hospital, UK.


Since 1993, the infection consultation service for bacteraemia has seen 310 patients in the Medical and Surgical Directorates at Ninewells Hospital and Kings Cross Hospital. A random sample of 100 was audited. Case-notes were incomplete for five patients, leaving 95 fully-audited patients. Clinical outcome measures were death from infection, and readmission within 2 weeks of discharge. Initial treatment was inconsistent with antibiotic policy in 46 patients (48%). Antibiotic treatment was changed in 37 (80%) of these patients: increased in intensity in 19 (41%) and decreased in 18 (39%). Changes were also made in 30 (61%) of the 49 patients whose initial treatment was consistent with sepsis policy-increased in seven (14%) and decreased in 23 (47%). Median daily antibiotic costs were lowered in patients whose initial treatment was consistent with sepsis policy (pounds 10.10 vs. pounds 7.28, p = 0.0274). However, in the other patients, savings were balanced by increases (p = 0.7696). Consultation required one consultant session per week (3.5 h) and the audit required an additional 16 consultant sessions. Seven patients died, but only one death was directly related to infection. Six patients were readmitted to hospital within 2 weeks, in three due to recurrence of infection. Changes to treatment were recommended in the majority of patients, regardless of whether initial treatment complied with the sepsis policy. The service primarily redistributed resources rather than reducing costs. A fully audited service requires considerable consultant time, but we believe such time is well spent.

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