Intravenous Antibiotic Therapy at Home

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During a 12-month period, 23 patients aged 12 to 78 years were treated for 8 to 40 days (mean, 23 days) at home with intravenous (i.v.) antibiotics. Diseases treated included bone and joint infection (14 patients), blastomycosis (two), actinomycosis (two), staphylococcal bacteremia (two), endocarditis (two), and candidal pyelonephritis (one). After initial in-hospital training, patients self-administered their drugs through a heparin-lock i.v. cannula, which was changed regularly by a visiting home care nurse. Antibiotics administered included cloxacillin, penicillin G, cephalosporins, gentamicin, carbenicillin, and amphotericin B. Patient and family acceptance of the program was good, the program was therapeutically effective, and, apart from a decreased prevalence of phlebitis with the heparin lock at home, side effects were no different from those of in-hospital-treated patients. The cost of home therapy was $40 per patient-day compared with an estimated $137 had the patients remained in hospital. Most patients were able to resume normal activities while receiving home i.v. therapy.

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