Does antibiotic de-escalation for nosocomial pneumonia impact intensive care unit length of stay?

Elizabeth Knaak, Stephen J. Cavalieri, Gary N. Elsasser, Laurel C. Preheim, Alyssa Gonitzke, Christopher J. Destache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), ventilatorassociated pneumonia (VAP), and health careYassociated pneumonia (HCAP) are associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and costs in the intensive care unit (ICU). The impact of antibiotic de-escalation on resource utilization, namely, length of stay (LOS) and cost of hospitalization, was investigated. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted from ICU admission of adult patients with a presumptive diagnosis of HAP, VAP, or HCAP in the 2009-2010 year. American Thoracic Society/Infectious Disease Society of America definitions for HAP, VAP, or HCAP were used. Eligible patients had blood and/or respiratory cultures collected before institution of empiric antibiotics. De-escalation required discontinuation of one or more empiric agent or change to narrower-spectrum antibiotic. The primary end point was the effect of antibiotic de-escalation on ICU LOS. Results: One hundred thirteen patients, representing 117 cases of HCAP, HAP, and VAP, met eligibility criteria. De-escalation was performed in 73 (62%) of pneumonias. De-escalated patients were more likely to be older (65.1 [SD, 16.8] vs 57.6 [SD, 19] years, P <0.05) and have cardiovascular disease (37% vs 14%, P <0.01). Intensive care unit LOS (9.3 [SD, 11.6] vs 13 [SD, 9.7] days, P = 0.069) was not significantly different; however, a significant difference in hospitalization costs ($38,016 [SD, 43,010] vs $55,217 [SD, 47,642], P <0.05) was found between the 2 groups. In-hospital mortality was significantly lower in de-escalated pneumonias (15% vs 39%, P <0.01). Conclusions: Although ICU LOS was not significantly different in this study, de-escalation was associated with significant reduction in resource utilization. In ICU patients with HCAP, HAP, or VAP, de-escalation affords an opportunity to improve antimicrobial stewardship and decrease resource utilization at no detriment to clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalInfectious Diseases in Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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