UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Antimicrobial Stewardship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine: A Narrative Exploration of Antibiotic Overprescribing, Stewardship Interventions, and Performance Metrics Meesters, Kevin; Buonsenso, Danilo

Abstract

Antibiotic overprescribing is prevalent in pediatric emergency medicine, influenced by clinician–caregiver dynamics and diagnostic uncertainties, and poses substantial risks such as increasing antibacterial resistance, adverse drug reactions, and increased healthcare expenditures. While antimicrobial stewardship programs have proven effective in optimizing antibiotic use within inpatient healthcare settings, their implementation in pediatric emergency medicine presents specific challenges. Existing biomarkers like white blood cell count, C-reactive protein, procalcitonin, and presepsin have limitations in their ability to distinguish (serious) bacterial infections from other etiologies of fever. Furthermore, rapid antigen detection tests and guidelines aimed at guiding antibiotic prescriptions for children have not consistently reduced unnecessary antibiotic use. To improve antibiotic prescribing practices, potential strategies include the utilization of decision support tools, audit and feedback, establishing follow-up procedures, implementing safety netting systems, and delivering comprehensive training and supervision. Notably, host genome signatures have also gained attention for their potential to facilitate rapid and precise diagnoses of inflammatory syndromes. Standardized metrics are crucial for evaluating antimicrobial use within pediatric healthcare settings, enabling the establishment of benchmarks for assessing antibiotic utilization, quality enhancement initiatives, and research endeavors.

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CC BY 4.0