Background: Clinicians commonly obtain endotracheal aspirate cultures (EACs) in the evaluation of suspected ventilator-associated infections. However, bacterial growth in EACs does not distinguish bacterial colonization from infection and may lead to overtreatment with antibiotics. We describe the development and impact of a clinical decision support algorithm to standardize the use of EACs from ventilated PICU patients.
Methods: We monitored EAC use using a statistical process control chart. We compared the rate of EACs using Poisson regression and a quasi-experimental interrupted time series model and assessed clinical outcomes 1 year before and after introduction of the algorithm.
Results: In the preintervention year, there were 557 EACs over 5092 ventilator days; after introduction of the algorithm, there were 234 EACs over 3654 ventilator days (an incident rate of 10.9 vs 6.5 per 100 ventilator days). There was a 41% decrease in the monthly rate of EACs (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.51-0.67; P < .001). The interrupted time series model revealed a preexisting 2% decline in the monthly culture rate (IRR: 0.98; 95% CI 0.97-1.0; P = .01), immediate 44% drop (IRR: 0.56; 95% CI 0.45-0.70; P = .02), and stable rate in the postintervention year (IRR: 1.03; 95% CI 0.99-1.07; P = .09). In-hospital mortality, hospital length of stay, 7-day readmissions, and All Patients Refined Diagnosis Related Group severity and mortality scores were stable. The estimated direct cost savings was $26 000 per year.
Conclusions: A clinical decision support algorithm standardizing EAC obtainment from ventilated PICU patients was associated with a sustained decline in the rate of EACs, without changes in mortality, readmissions, or length of stay.
Copyright © 2021 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.