Antimicrobial stewardship for hospitalized patients with viral respiratory tract infections

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The purpose of this study was to implement a targeted antimicrobial stewardship intervention for patients with a viral respiratory tract infection.


This was a quasi-experimental before and after audit and feedback intervention of adult inpatients with a positive polymerase chain reaction for a respiratory virus in 2 acute care hospitals in Vancouver, Canada. Audit and feedback was implemented based on 2 criteria: microbiology (no positive bacterial cultures) and chest imaging (absence of pneumonia or consolidation on radiology dictation). A chart review was conducted to assess for days of antibiotics postviral diagnosis. Outcomes including length of stay, intensive care unit admission within 14 days, mechanical ventilation within 14 days, antibiotics prescribed within 14 days, Clostridium difficile infection diagnosed within 30 days, and readmission within 30 days were also reviewed in comparison with the previous year.


Antimicrobial stewardship recommendations for hospitalized patients with viral respiratory tract infections were accepted for 77% of cases. This targeted approach based on easily assessed parameters translated into a 1.3-day (95% confidence interval, 0.3-2.3; P < .01) decrease in mean days of antibiotics postviral diagnosis compared with the previous year without systematic interventions. Compared with the previous year, no differences were identified for adverse outcomes associated with the intervention.


A targeted antimicrobial stewardship intervention integrating virology testing with the treating physician facilitated a reduction in duration of antibiotic treatment for viral respiratory tract infections.

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