Point prevalence survey of antibiotic use in 26 Saudi hospitals in 2016

J Infect Public Health. Jan-Feb 2019;12(1):77-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2018.09.003. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Objective: To evaluate the antibiotic prescribing trends, qualitatively and quantitatively, among Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals.

Method and materials: In May 2016, information about the hospitals and patients was collected for all inpatients from 26 MOH hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Additional information about antibiotic treatment and infections was gathered. Data collection was done using Global Point Prevalence Survey (PPS) tool designed by University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Results: A total of 3240 antibiotic doses were administrated to 2182 patients who represented 46.9% of the total eligible admitted patients. Of those patients on antibiotics, 510 (24%) patients were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 646 (30.4%) patients were medically treated, and 972 (45.7%) patients were in surgical departments. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic group was third-generation cephalosporin (17.2%) and the most frequent indication was respiratory ract infectiont (n=597; 18.2%). Antibiotics for surgical prophylaxis represented 23.4% of the total antibiotic doses. Of those, 78% were administrated for more than 24hs. The rate of adherence to antibiotic guidelines was 48.1%. The indications for antibiotics were not documented in the patients' notes for 51.1% of the prescriptions.

Conclusion: This national PPS provided a useful tool to identify targets for quality improvement in order to enhance the prudent use of antibiotics in hospital settings. This survey can provide a background to assess the quality of antibiotic utilisation after any intervention by administering it regularly.

Keywords: Antimicrobial consumption; Antimicrobial stewardship; Hospital; Point prevalence survey; Quality indicators.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Cephalosporins / administration & dosage
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Surgery Department, Hospital / supply & distribution


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cephalosporins