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Impact of introducing procalcitonin testing on antibiotic usage in acute NHS hospitals during the first wave of COVID-19 in the UK: a controlled interrupted time series analysis of organisation-level data

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posted on 2023-06-10, 02:14 authored by Martin LlewelynMartin Llewelyn, Detelina Grozeva, Philip Howard, Joanne Euden, Sarah M Gerver, Russell Hope, Margaret Heginbothom, Neil Powell, Colin Richman, Dominick Shaw, Emma Thomas-Jones, Robert M West, Enitan D Carrol, Philip Pallmann, Jonathan A T Sandoe, PEACH study team
Background Blood biomarkers have the potential to help identify COVID-19 patients with bacterial coinfection in whom antibiotics are indicated. During the COVID-19 pandemic, procalcitonin testing was widely introduced at hospitals in the UK to guide antibiotic prescribing. We have determined the impact of this on hospital-level antibiotic consumption. Methods We conducted a retrospective, controlled interrupted time series analysis of organization-level data describing antibiotic dispensing, hospital activity and procalcitonin testing for acute hospitals/hospital trusts in England and Wales during the first wave of COVID-19 (24 February to 5 July 2020). Results In the main analysis of 105 hospitals in England, introduction of procalcitonin testing in emergency departments/acute medical admission units was associated with a statistically significant decrease in total antibiotic use of -1.08 (95% CI: -1.81 to -0.36) DDDs of antibiotic per admission per week per trust. This effect was then lost at a rate of 0.05 (95% CI: 0.02–0.08) DDDs per admission per week. Similar results were found specifically for first-line antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia and for COVID-19 admissions rather than all admissions. Introduction of procalcitonin in the ICU setting was not associated with any significant change in antibiotic use. Conclusions At hospitals where procalcitonin testing was introduced in emergency departments/acute medical units this was associated with an initial, but unsustained, reduction in antibiotic use. Further research should establish the patient-level impact of procalcitonin testing in this population and understand its potential for clinical effectiveness.


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  • Published

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Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy




Oxford University Press

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  • Global Health and Infection Publications

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