Opportunities to Improve Antibiotic Appropriateness in U.S. ICUs: A Multicenter Evaluation

Kavita K. Trivedi, Rachel Bartash, Alyssa R. Letourneau, Lilian Abbo, Jorge Fleisher, Christina Gagliardo, Shannon Kelley, Priya Nori, Gunter K. Rieg, Phyllis Silver, Arjun Srinivasan, Jaclyn Vargas, Belinda Ostrowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: To use a standardized tool for a multicenter assessment of antibiotic appropriateness in ICUs and identify local antibiotic stewardship improvement opportunities. Design: Pilot point prevalence conducted on October 5, 2016; point prevalence survey conducted on March 1, 2017. Setting: ICUs in 12 U.S. acute care hospitals with median bed size 563. Patients: Receiving antibiotics on participating units on March 1, 2017. Interventions: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tool for the Assessment of Appropriateness of Inpatient Antibiotics was made actionable by an expert antibiotic stewardship panel and implemented across hospitals. Data were collected by antibiotic stewardship program personnel at each hospital, deidentified and submitted in aggregate for benchmarking. hospital personnel identified most salient reasons for inappropriate use by category and agent. Measurements and Main Results: Forty-seven ICUs participated. Most hospitals (83%) identified as teaching with median licensed ICU beds of 70. On March 1, 2017, 362 (54%) of 667 ICU patients were on antibiotics (range, 8-81 patients); of these, 112 (31%) were identified as inappropriate and administered greater than 72 hours among all 12 hospitals (range, 9-82%). Prophylactic antibiotic regimens and PICU patients demonstrated a statistically significant risk ratio of 1.76 and 1.90 for inappropriate treatment, respectively. Reasons for inappropriate use included unnecessarily broad spectrum (29%), no infection or nonbacterial syndrome (22%), and duration longer than necessary (21%). Of patients on inappropriate antibiotic therapy in surgical ICUs, a statistically significant risk ratio of 2.59 was calculated for noninfectious or nonbacterial reasons for inappropriate therapy. Conclusions: In this multicenter point prevalence study, 31% of ICU antibiotic regimens were inappropriate; prophylactic regimens were often inappropriate across different ICU types, particularly in surgical ICUs. Engaging intensivists in antibiotic stewardship program efforts is crucial to sustain the efficacy of antibiotics and quality of infectious diseases care in critical care settings. This study underscores the value of standardized assessment tools and benchmarking to be shared with local leaders for targeted antibiotic stewardship program interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-976
Number of pages9
JournalCritical care medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • antibiotic appropriateness
  • antibiotic stewardship programs
  • inappropriate use
  • intensive care units
  • point prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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