Understanding antibiotic prophylaxis prescribing in pediatric surgical specialties


Malone SM, Seigel NS, Newland JG, Saito JM, McKay VR.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2020 Apr 7:1-6. doi: 10.1017/ice.2020.71. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 32252848

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Background: Overuse of antibiotics has caused secondary poor outcomes and has led to a current rate of antibiotic resistant infections that constitutes a public health crisis. In pediatric surgical specialties, children continue to receive unnecessary antibiotics.

Objective: To understand the factors that contribute to pediatric surgeons’ decisions regarding the use of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis.

Methods: Focus groups included pediatric proceduralists/surgeons from the following specialties: interventional cardiology, otolaryngology, orthopedic surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and general surgery.

Results: A total of 23 surgeons with a median of 9 years of experience (range, 0.5-29 years) participated in the focus groups that lasted 30-90 minutes each. Five themes emerged influencing beliefs about antibiotic prescribing practices: (1) reliance on previous experience and early education, (2) balancing antibiotic use with risk of infection, (3) uncertainty about the state of the scientific evidence, (4) understanding importance of communication and team collaboration, and (5) a prevalence of hospital-level concerns.

Conclusions: Surgeons describe a complex set of factors that impact their antibiotic prescribing in pediatric surgical cases. They reported initial, but not ongoing, training and a use of individual weight of risk and benefit as a major dictator of prescribing practices. Antimicrobial stewardship programs should work with surgeons to develop acceptable implementation strategies to optimize antibiotic prescribing.