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Does an Antimicrobial Time-Out Impact the Duration of Therapy of Antimicrobials in the PICU?*

Adams, Susan M. PharmD, BCPS1; Ngo, Linh PharmD2; Morphew, Tricia MSc3–4; Babbitt, Christopher J. MD, FCCP5

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: June 2019 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 560-567
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001925
Quality and Safety

Objectives: Our aim was to perform an antimicrobial time-out 48–72 hours after commencing therapy in order to achieve a decrease in days of therapy per 1,000 patient days for vancomycin, meropenem, and piperacillin/tazobactam in all PICU patients during an 8-month period.

Design: This is a pre- and postimplementation quality improvement study.

Settings: A 30-bed PICU at a tertiary children’s hospital.

Patients: Patients less than 21 years old admitted to the PICU from July 1, 2015, until March 31, 2016, or from July 1, 2016, until March 31, 2017, who received antibiotics for greater than 48 hours were eligible for inclusion.

Intervention: An antimicrobial time-out was performed after 48–72 hours of antimicrobials for all patients in the PICU during postimplementation.

Measurements and Main Results: The primary outcome measure was days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days for three target antibiotics: vancomycin, meropenem, and piperacillin/tazobactam. Ninety-five patients meeting inclusion criteria were admitted to the PICU during the pre–time-out period and 95 patients during the post–time-out period. The cohort that underwent time-outs had lower days of therapy for vancomycin (81.3 vs 138.1; p = 0.037) and meropenem (34.7 vs 67.1; p = 0.045). Total acquisition cost was 31 % lower for piperacillin/tazobactam and vancomycin and 46% for meropenem post implementation. Time-outs led to antimicrobial duration being defined 63% of the time and deescalation or discontinuation of antimicrobials 29% of the time.

Conclusions: A 48–72-hour time-out process in rounds is associated with a reduction in days of therapy for antibiotics commonly used in the PICU and may lead to more appropriate usage. The time-outs are associated with discontinuation, deescalation, or duration being defined, which are key elements of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–recommended antimicrobial stewardship programs.

1Department of Pediatric Pharmacy, Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

2Department of Pharmacy, City of Hope, Duarte, CA.

3Morphew Consulting LLC, Bothell, WA.

4Memorialcare Health System, Fountain Valley, CA.

5Pediatric Critical Care, Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

*See also p. 577.

Dr. Morphew’s institution received funding from Memorial Health Services (ongoing consultancy agreement with Morphew Consulting, LLC). Dr. Babbitt received funding from the Memorial Medical Foundation. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

Address requests for reprints to: Christopher J. Babbitt, MD, FCCP, Pediatric Critical Care, Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA. E-mail:

Copyright © 2019 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies