Inappropriate therapy given to bloodstream infection patients?

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Community hospitals are facing challenges in treating patients with bloodstream infections because of growing drug resistance, high prevalence of S. aureus bacterium, and ineffective antibiotics prescribed to one in three patients, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

For the study, researchers collected information on 1,470 patients from community hospitals. They found 56 percent of bloodstream infections were healthcare-related but symptoms began prior to being admitted to the hospital. Community-acquired infections unrelated to medical care were seen in 29 percent of the patients, and 15 percent had hospital-onset healthcare-related infections. The researchers also found 38 percent of patients with bloodstream infections received inappropriate empiric antimicrobial therapy, or were not initially prescribed an antibiotic that was effective against the infection while the cause of the infection was still unknown.

“Developing an intervention where electronic records automatically alert clinicians to these risk factors when they're choosing antibiotics could help reduce the problem," Lead author Deverick Anderson, M.D., MPH, associate professor of medicine at Duke, was quoted as saying. “This is just a place to start, but it's an example of an area where we could improve how we treat patients with bloodstream infections.”

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