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J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2015 Dec;4(4):e100-8. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piv022. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Identifying Antimicrobial Stewardship Targets for Pediatric Surgical Patients.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases Department of Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, Washington.
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri.
Department of Pediatric Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle.
Department of Pediatric Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, Washington.



More than 80% of surgical inpatients at US children's hospitals receive antibiotics, accounting for >40% of all inpatient pediatric antibiotic use. We aimed to examine the collective pool of all systemic antibiotics prescribed to children hospitalized for surgical conditions and identify common surgical conditions with highly variable and potentially unnecessary antibiotic use, because these conditions may represent antimicrobial stewardship priorities.


We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study of surgical inpatients discharged in 2012 at 37 freestanding children's hospitals. We captured all systemic antibiotic use as days of therapy (DOT), and we reported surgical conditions by frequency and contribution to overall antibiotic use. We used multivariable logistic and Poisson regression with marginal standardization to estimate (1) the standardized proportion and (2) DOT of condition-specific targeted antibiotic use among top surgical condition patients.


Among 151 345 surgical inpatients, 82.9% received antimicrobials for a median 2 DOT per subject (interquartile range, 1-5; range, 1-958). The most commonly received antibiotics were cefazolin (16.7% of all DOT), vancomycin (12.5%), and piperacillin/tazobactam (6.9%). The top 10 conditions contributing most to antibiotic use accounted for 51.3% of all antibiotic use. Among these, adjusted use of postoperative and perioperative vancomycin varied across hospitals among craniotomy and cardiothoracic surgery subjects (all P < .001); adjusted use of broad-spectrum antipseudomonal agents varied across hospitals among gastrointestinal surgery subjects (all P < .001).


Use of (1) vancomycin for pediatric cardiothoracic and neurosurgical patients and (2) broad-spectrum antipseudomonal agents for gastrointestinal surgery patients represent potentially high-yield targets for stewardship efforts to reduce unnecessary antimicrobial use.


antibiotics; antimicrobial stewardship; epidemiology; infectious diseases; pediatrics

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