Context: Resistance to most or all cephalosporin antibiotics in Klebsiella species has developed in many European and North American hospitals during the past 2 decades.
Objective: To determine if restriction of use of the cephalosporin class of antibiotics would reduce the incidence of patient infection or colonization by cephalosporin-resistant Klebsiella.
Design: A before-after comparative 2-year trial.
Setting: A 500-bed, university-affiliated community hospital in Queens, NY.
Patients: All adult medical and surgical hospital inpatients.
Intervention: A new antibiotic guideline excluded the use of cephalosporins except for pediatric infection, single-dose surgical prophylaxis, acute bacterial meningitis, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and outpatient gonococcal infection. All other cephalosporin use required prior approval by the infectious disease section.
Main outcome measure: Incidence of patient infection or colonization by ceftazidime-resistant Klebsiella during 1995 (control period) compared with 1996 (intervention period).
Results: An 80.1% reduction in hospital-wide cephalosporin use occurred in 1996 compared with 1995. This was accompanied by a 44.0% reduction in the incidence of ceftazidime-resistant Klebsiella infection and colonization throughout the medical center (P<.01), a 70.9% reduction within all intensive care units (P<.001), and an 87.5% reduction within the surgical intensive care unit (P<.001). A concomitant 68.7% increase in the incidence of imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurred throughout the medical center (P<.01). All such isolates except one were susceptible to other antibiotics.
Conclusion: Extensive cephalosporin class restriction significantly reduced nosocomial, plasmid-mediated, cephalosporin-resistant Klebsiella infection and colonization. This occurred at the price of increased imipenem resistance in P aeruginosa, which remained susceptible to other agents. Thus, an overall reduction in multiply-resistant pathogens was achieved within 1 year.