Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Trials and BioMed Central.

Open Access Study protocol

Antibiotic rotation strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance in Gram-negative bacteria in European intensive care units: study protocol for a cluster-randomized crossover controlled trial

Pleun J van Duijn and Marc JM Bonten

Author Affiliations

For all author emails, please log on.

Trials 2014, 15:277  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-277

Published: 10 July 2014

Abstract (provisional)

Background

Intensive care units (ICU) are epicenters for the emergence of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria (ARGNB) because of high rates of antibiotic usage, rapid patient turnover, immunological susceptibility of acutely ill patients, and frequent contact between healthcare workers and patients, facilitating cross-transmission.

Antibiotic stewardship programs are considered important to reduce antibiotic resistance, but the effectiveness of strategies such as, for instance, antibiotic rotation, have not been determined rigorously. Interpretation of available studies on antibiotic rotation is hampered by heterogeneity in implemented strategies and suboptimal study designs. In this cluster-randomized, crossover trial the effects of two antibiotic rotation strategies, antibiotic mixing and cycling, on the prevalence of ARGNB in ICUs are determined. Antibiotic mixing aims to create maximum antibiotic heterogeneity, and cycling aims to create maximum antibiotic homogeneity during consecutive periods.

Methods

This is an open cluster-randomized crossover study of mixing and cycling of antibiotics in eight ICUs in five European countries. During cycling (9 months) third- or fourth-generation cephalosporins, piperacillin-tazobactam and carbapenems will be rotated during consecutive 6-week periods as the primary empiric treatment in patients suspected of infection caused by Gram-negative bacteria. During mixing (9 months), the same antibiotics will be rotated for each consecutive antibiotic course. Both intervention periods will be preceded by a baseline period of 4 months. ICUs will be randomized to consecutively implement either the mixing and then cycling strategy, or vice versa. The primary outcome is the ICU prevalence of ARGNB, determined through monthly point-prevalence screening of oropharynx and perineum. Secondary outcomes are rates of acquisition of ARGNB, bacteremia and appropriateness of therapy, length of stay in the ICU and ICU mortality. Results will be adjusted for intracluster correlation, and patient- and ICU-level variables of case-mix and infection-prevention measures using advanced regression modeling.

Discussion

This trial will determine the effects of antibiotic mixing and cycling on the unit-wide prevalence of ARGNB in ICUs.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01293071 December 2010.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.