The study, which tracked patients in two Pennsylvania hospitals, found that doctors often use antibiotics to treat patients whose infections are known to be caused by viruses. The findings are alarming because antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and antibiotic overuse has been linked to the development of resistant bacterial strains.
"[T]hese data demonstrate at least one area where antibiotics are commonly used in hospitalized patients without clear reason," write the study's authors, Kevin T. Shiley, Ebbing Lautenbach and Ingi Lee, all from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Recognition of this may be helpful in developing interventions to limit inappropriate antibiotic use in the future."
In recent years, new diagnostic tests have been developed to distinguish infections caused by viruses from those caused by bacteria. In theory, more definitive diagnoses should reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics in patients with viral infections. But that does not appear to be happening, according to Shiley and his colleagues.
The researchers looked at data on RTI patients admitted to two hospitals over a two-year period. Of 196 patients who were diagnosed with viral infections, 125 remained on antibiotics after their diagnoses. It would be understandable to keep a patient on antibiotics if an abnormal chest x-ray suggests a concurrent bacterial infection, the researchers said. However, only 37% of these patients had abnormal chest x-rays. "It is less clear why the remaining 63% of patients with normal chest imaging were prescribed antibiotics," Shiley and his colleagues write.
NO CLINICAL BENEFIT
Patients in the study who remained on antibiotics did not benefit from the treatment, the researchers found. In fact, antibiotics may have led to harm in some cases. For example, a significant number of antibiotic patients developed Clostridium difficile diarrhea, a condition linked with antibiotic use.
On average, the antibiotic group had longer hospital stays and higher mortality rates than the non-antibiotic group. While those poorer outcomes cannot be attributed directly to antibiotic treatment, they do suggest that there was no clinical benefit, the researchers say.
"This study highlights the crucial role of antimicrobial stewardship in improving patient care," said Neil O. Fishman, M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. "Appropriate use of antibiotics is not only essential to limiting emergence of resistance, but also may help improve clinical outcomes."
Kevin T. Shiley, Ebbing Lautenbach, and Ingi Lee, "The Use of Antimicrobial Agents after the Diagnosis of Viral Respiratory Tract Infections in Hospitalized Adults: Antibiotics or Anxiolytics?" Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 31:11 (November 2010). The study will publish online next week.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology provides original, peer-reviewed scientific articles for anyone involved with an infection control or epidemiology program in a hospital or healthcare facility. It is published by a partnership between The Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America and The University of Chicago Press.
Kevin Stacey | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Event News