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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2007 Jun;59(6):1148-54. Epub 2007 Apr 13.

Modified guidelines impact on antibiotic use and costs: duration of treatment for pneumonia in a neurosurgical ICU is reduced.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology, Freiburg University Hospital, Hugstetter Str 55, Freiburg, Germany.



To evaluate the impact of an intervention to reduce the duration of antibiotic treatment for pneumonia in a neurosurgical intensive care unit (ICU). The usage of antibiotics and the resultant costs were examined using interrupted time series analysis while resistance and device-associated infection rates are also described.


In January 2004, revised guidelines for the use of antibiotics were implemented. As a consequence of this, the duration of antibiotic therapy for nosocomial pneumonia was reduced from 14 to 7 days, while for community-acquired pneumonia the period fell from 10 to 5 days. The effect on the antibiotic use density [AD; expressed as defined daily doses (DDD) per 1000 patient days (pd)] was calculated by segmented regression analysis of interrupted time series for the 24 months prior to (2002 and 2003) and after the intervention (2004 and 2005).


The intervention was associated with a significant decrease in total AD from 949.8 to 626.7 DDD/1000 pd after the intervention. This was mainly due to reduced consumption of second-generation cephalosporins (-100.6 DDD/1000 pd), imidazoles (- 100.3 DDD/1000 pd), carbapenems (-33.3 DDD/1000 pd), penicillins with beta-lactamase inhibitor (-33.5 DDD/1000 pd) and glycopeptides (-30.2 DDD/1000 pd). Glycopeptide reduction might be associated with a significant decrease in the proportion of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (8.4% before and 2.9% after the intervention). Similarly, total antibiotic costs/pd (Euro) showed a significant decrease from 13.16 Euro/pd before to 7.31 euro/pd after the intervention. This is a saving of 5.85 Euro/pd. The incidence of patients dying with pneumonia did not change significantly.


The most conservative estimate of segmented regression analysis over a 48 month period showed that halving the duration of treatment for pneumonia results in a reduction of over 30% in antibiotic consumption and costs. Because respiratory infections are most common in ICU patients, interventions targeting a reduction in the duration of treatment of pneumonia might be extremely worthwhile.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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