Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021 Aug 26;6(5):e459. doi: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000459. eCollection 2021 Sep-Oct.
INTRODUCTION: Neonatologists have long struggled with identifying and treating early-onset sepsis (EOS) without overexposing newborns to unnecessary antibiotics.
METHODS: In January 2016, we instituted an EOS protocol based mainly on the 2012 AAP guidelines. We subsequently conducted 2 additional plan-do-study-act cycles to decrease antibiotic usage by integrating the EOS risk calculator into our algorithm. For the periods January 2016-June 2017 (period 1), June 2017-February 2018 (period 2), and February 2018-December 2018 (period 3), we tracked all asymptomatic newborns older than 36 weeks, including those admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for evaluation of EOS. We monitored the monthly variation in asymptomatic newborns older than 36 weeks who received antibiotics using statistical process control. The number of asymptomatic infants treated with antibiotics during the 3 periods was analyzed. Pairwise comparisons were made using post hoc chi-square analysis.
RESULTS: The addition of the EOS calculator score to our guidelines reduced the number of asymptomatic infants older than 36 weeks treated with antibiotics by 73% (P < 0.0001). Adopting the EOS calculator score after clinical examination further reduced the number of infants treated by 89% (P < 0.0001). For period 1, the percentage of asymptomatic infants older than 36 weeks treated with antibiotics was 4.3%; for period 2, it was 1.16%, and for period 3, it was 0.12% (P < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The addition of the EOS calculator score to our AAP-based guidelines reduced antibiotic use among asymptomatic infants older than 36 weeks by 73%. Further adoption of the EOS calculator score after the clinical examination enabled our team to defer antibiotics in almost all asymptomatic infants safely.