Antibiotic Prescribing Patterns Across the Continuum of Care for Children Hospitalized With Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2018 Jan;34(1):e7-e10. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000000598.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the variation in antibiotic prescribing practices for uncomplicated community-acquired pneumonia across the continuum of care for hospitalized pediatric patients to better inform future efforts at standardizing antibiotic therapy throughout a single hospitalization.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study involving 4 hospitals caring for children aged 3 months to 18 years, hospitalized between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, with diagnosis of uncomplicated pneumonia and without complex chronic medical conditions.Data collected include antibiotics prescribed before hospitalization, at the emergency department (ED) encounter, during hospitalization, and at hospital discharge.

Results: Six hundred nine children met inclusion criteria, with a mean age of 5.3 years and median length of stay of 2 days. Emergency department providers prescribed narrow-spectrum therapy 27% of the time, whereas discharging providers prescribed narrow-spectrum therapy 56% of the time. Third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins were less often prescribed in the preadmission setting and at discharge but were more often prescribed in the ED and inpatient setting. There was an association between inpatient prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics when a blood culture was obtained, when broad-spectrum antibiotics were prescribed in the ED, and with increasing length of stay.

Conclusion: Broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy for community-acquired pneumonia, especially third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins, often originates in the ED. When initiated in this setting, it is likely to be continued in the inpatient setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy
  • Continuity of Patient Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents