Background: The aim of this study was to assess the impact of antimicrobial stewardship interventions on surgical antibiotic prescription behavior in the management of non-elective surgical intra-abdominal infections, focusing on postoperative antibiotic use, including the appropriateness of indications.
Methods: A single-center quality improvement study with retrospective evaluation of the impact of antimicrobial stewardship measures on optimizing antibacterial use in intra-abdominal infections requiring emergency surgery was performed. The study was conducted in a tertiary hospital in Germany from January 1, 2016, to January 30, 2020, three years after putting a set of antimicrobial stewardship standards into effect.
Results: 767 patients were analyzed (n = 495 in 2016 and 2017, the baseline period; n = 272 in 2018, the antimicrobial stewardship period). The total days of therapy per 100 patient days declined from 47.0 to 42.2 days (p = 0.035). The rate of patients receiving postoperative therapy decreased from 56.8% to 45.2% (p = 0.002), comparing both periods. There was a significant decline in the rate of inappropriate indications (17.4% to 8.1 %, p = 0.015) as well as a significant change from broad-spectrum to narrow-spectrum antibiotic use (28.8% to 6.5%, p ≤ 0.001) for postoperative therapy. The significant decline in antibiotic use did not affect either clinical outcomes or the rate of postoperative wound complications.
Conclusions: Postoperative antibiotic use for intra-abdominal infections could be significantly reduced by antimicrobial stewardship interventions. The identification of inappropriate indications remains a key target for antimicrobial stewardship programs.
Keywords: antibiotic prescription behavior; antimicrobial stewardship; post-operative antibiotic treatment; surgical intra-abdominal infections.