Effective antibiotic stewardship in spinal cord injury: Challenges and a way forward

Felicia Skelton*, Katie Suda, Charlesnika Evans, Barbara Trautner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context: Antibiotic stewardship, defined as a multidisciplinary program to reduce the misuse of antibiotics, and in turn, antibiotic resistance, is a high priority. Persons with spinal cord injury/disorder (SCI/D) are vulnerable to receiving multiple courses of antibiotics over their lifetime given frequent healthcare exposure, and have high rates of bacterial infection with multi-drug resistant organisms. Additional challenges to evaluating appropriate use of antibiotics in this population include bacterial colonization in the urine and the differences in the presenting signs and symptoms of infection. Therefore, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities with SCI/D centers need effective antibiotic stewardship programs. Results: We analyzed the results of a 2012 VHA-wide survey evaluating available antibiotic stewardship resources, and compared the resources present at facilities with SCI/D (n=23) versus non-SCI/D facilities (n=107). VHA facilities with SCI/D centers are more likely to have components of an antibiotic stewardship program that have led to reduced antibiotic use in previous studies. They are also more likely to have personnel with infectious diseases training. Conclusion: VHA facilities with SCI/D centers have the resources needed for antibiotic stewardship. The next step will be to determine how to implement effective antibiotic stewardship tailored for this patient care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-254
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • SCI
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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