Empiric antibiotic use and susceptibility in infants with bacterial infections: A multicenter retrospective cohort study

Elana A. Feldman*, Russell J. McCulloh, Angela L. Myers, Paul L. Aronson, Mark I. Neuman, Miranda C. Bradford, Elizabeth R. Alpern, Frances Balamuth, Mercedes M. Blackstone, Whitney L. Browning, Katie Hayes, Rosalynne Korman, Rianna C. Leazer, Lise E. Nigrovic, Richard D Marble, Emily CZ Roben, Derek J. Williams, Joel S. Tieder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To assess hospital differences in empirical antibiotic use, bacterial epidemiology, and antimicrobial susceptibility for common antibiotic regimens among young infants with urinary tract infection (UTI), bacteremia, or bacterial meningitis. METHODS: We reviewed medical records from infants<,90 days old presenting to 8 US children's hospitals with UTI, bacteremia, or meningitis. We used the Pediatric Health Information System database to identify cases and empirical antibiotic use and medical record review to determine infection, pathogen, and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns. We compared hospital-level differences in antimicrobial use, pathogen, infection site, and antimicrobial susceptibility. RESULTS: We identified 470 infants with bacterial infections: 362 (77%) with UTI alone and 108 (23%) with meningitis or bacteremia. Infection type did not differ across hospitals (P 5 .85). Empirical antibiotic use varied across hospitals (P<.01), although antimicrobial susceptibility patterns for common empirical regimens were similar. A third-generation cephalosporin would have empirically treated 90% of all ages, 89% in 7- to 28-day-olds, and 91% in 29- to 89-day-olds. The addition of ampicillin would have improved coverage in only 4 cases of bacteremia and meningitis. Ampicillin plus gentamicin would have treated 95%, 89%, and 97% in these age groups, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Empirical antibiotic use differed across regionally diverse US children's hospitals in infants<90 days old with UTI, bacteremia, or meningitis. Antimicrobial susceptibility to common antibiotic regimens was similar across hospitals, and adding ampicillin to a thirdgeneration cephalosporin minimally improves coverage. Our findings support incorporating empirical antibiotic recommendations into national guidelines for infants with suspected bacterial infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-435
Number of pages9
JournalHospital Pediatrics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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