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Antimicrobial Use in a Swedish Pediatric Hospital

Results From Eight Point-prevalence Surveys Over a 15-Year Period (2003–2017)

Luthander, Joachim MD*,†; Bennet, Rutger MD, PhD*; Nilsson, Anna MD, PhD; Eriksson, Margareta MD, PhD*

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: September 2019 - Volume 38 - Issue 9 - p 929–933
doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002393
Antimicrobial Reports

Background: Antimicrobial resistance is increasing, and data on antimicrobial use in Swedish children are limited. We evaluated trends in antimicrobial use and attempted to identify targets for improving the quality of antimicrobial prescribing in a tertiary care center.

Methods: One-day hospital-wide point prevalence surveys were conducted 8 times during 2003–2017 at Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital. Children <17 years old were included. Medical records were evaluated for risk factors, indications for treatment, and antibiotic agents used.

Results: Among 946 admitted patients, 36% (336/946) received antimicrobial treatment. The total number of prescriptions increased (P = 0.031), but the proportion of patients treated remained unchanged. The proportion of patients receiving prophylactic treatment increased from 11% to 43% (P = 0.005). The rate of hospital-acquired infections remained unchanged. The primary indication for antimicrobial therapy was sepsis, fever of unknown origin, or fever in neutropenia, followed by intra-abdominal infections and pneumonia. The most frequently used antibiotics were cephalosporins, but consumption decreased, and in 2017 piperacillin-tazobactam was the most frequently used. Antimicrobial use was generally appropriate, although guidelines were often missing. The number of pediatric hospital beds decreased, and the bed occupancy was 71% (101/142) in 2003 and 121% (110/91) in 2017. The patient mix changed toward more patients with underlying risk factors for infectious diseases.

Conclusions: Antimicrobial use changed during the study period, mainly due to increased prophylactic use in at-risk patients. Antimicrobial stewardship programs including infection control interventions and increasing the availability of guidelines may reduce and improve antimicrobial therapy.

From the *Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health

Childhood Cancer Research Unit, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden.

Accepted for publication April 30, 2019.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Address for correspondence: Joachim Luthander, MD, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm SE 17176, Sweden. E-mail:

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