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Villanueva P, Freyne B, Hickey L, Carr J, Bryant PA. Impact of an antimicrobial stewardship intervention in neonatal intensive care: Recommendations and implementation. J Paediatr Child Health. 2021 Mar 17. doi: 10.1111/jpc.15427. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33729615.

Aim: To (i) determine the appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and (ii) assess the impact of a collaborative antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) intervention on prescribing practices.

Methods: The intervention was a weekly AMS audit-feedback joint ward round (6-month period) of Neonatology and Infectious Diseases clinicians in a tertiary neonatal intensive care unit in Melbourne, Australia. Antibiotic prescriptions were audited and recommendations delivered in real time. The proportion of recommendations implemented was used to assess acceptability of the intervention.

Results: During the study period, there were 23 AMS rounds, during which 249 patients were reviewed at 627 separate episodes. Of these, 233 (37%) episodes were for patients receiving antimicrobials. Of these, 147 (63%) received empirical antimicrobial treatment, 43 (18%) targeted antimicrobial treatment and 43 (18%) antimicrobial prophylaxis. There were 58 (25%) of 233 episodes of inappropriate antibiotic use, and 62 recommendations for improvement. Most common recommendations were to narrow (33/62, 53%) or stop (12/62, 19%) antimicrobials. The majority (45, 73%) of recommendations were accepted, resulting in significant improvement in the proportion of the 233 episodes that had completely appropriate antibiotic prescribing: 175 (75%) to 217 (93%) (relative risk 1.2, 95% confidence intervals 1.1-1.3, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: A collaborative audit-feedback AMS intervention was effective in identifying inappropriate antimicrobial prescriptions and impacted positively on treatment plans. Ancillary benefits were improved communication between departments and the revision of antimicrobial prescribing guidelines.

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