Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Mar 10;47:66-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.03.018. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Antibiotic stewardship programs have been a major focus in recent years to curtail antibiotic resistance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate antibiotic utilization for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) in the Emergency Department (ED) setting.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective analysis of adult ARTI visits to EDs utilizing 2011-2017 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey- Emergency Department (NHAMCS-ED) datasets was conducted. Included were all visits of adults (≥18 years) diagnosed with ARTI. Antibiotics were determined based upon NHAMCS-ED use of the Multum Lexicon Drug Database coding system. All significance tests were two-sided, P-value <0.05 for significance.
RESULTS: A total of 4632 unweighted ED visits, which represented more than 28 million US ED visits from 2011 to 2017, with 57.2% receiving a prescription for antibiotics. Antibiotic prescriptions for ARTI significantly declined from 65.8% in 2011 to 54.3% in 2017 (P = 0.046). Among all visits, patients were more likely to receive an antibiotic if they were over age 45 (33.0% vs 27.6%, P = 0.005), male (36.7% vs. 32.3%, P = 0.039), and presenting in a non-MSA ED (21.4% vs. 14.5%, P = 0.002). No association was found between antibiotic prescription and race (P = 0.076) insurance (P = 0.488), CBC (P = 0.148), x-ray (P = 0.278), and blood cultures (P = 0.182).
CONCLUSION: We found a significant reduction in the utilization of antibiotics among adult ARTI visits to U.S. EDs from 2011 to 2017. This is an improvement from previous studies which showed no change, suggesting that antimicrobial stewardship efforts may be impacting overall antibiotic use and should continue to be practiced.