Current challenges in the management of the infected patient

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Purpose of reviewManagement of hospital-associated infections (HAIs) has been made more challenging by the increasing proportion of immunocompromised or otherwise severely ill patients and increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in this environment. This review examines strategies to optimize clinical outcomes and lower healthcare costs for patients with HAIs by focusing on patient-related, pathogen-related, and drug-related factors.Recent findingsFactors have converged to increase the risk of infection with antibiotic-resistant pathogens in the current hospital environment, including the increasing prevalence of resistant species and number of hospitalized patients with conditions increasingly susceptible to infection with drug-resistant bacteria. Although the list of bacterial pathogens associated with HAIs has been fairly constant over time, the prevalence and resistance profile of these individual species continues to evolve. Periodic antibiograms should be utilized to access local patterns of resistance within the different hospital wards. Outcomes for patients with HAIs are optimized with early empiric treatment with an appropriate regimen, selected on the basis of patient characteristics and local resistance patterns. Dosing strategies should be utilized to ensure that the efficacy of an appropriate antibiotic is optimized, by achieving the pharmacodynamic target predictive of its efficacy. Using these strategies improves quality of care and is associated with lower overall healthcare costs.SummaryBacterial resistance is an increasing problem in the hospital environment, and has been associated with poorer clinical outcomes and elevated healthcare costs. By using patient characteristics, local antibiograms, and dosing strategies to achieve an optimal pharmacodynamic profile, early appropriate empiric therapy can be utilized to improve clinical outcomes, minimize the development of resistance, and reduce healthcare costs.

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