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This study aims to quantify antibiotic consumption for suspected respiratory tract superinfections in COVID-19 patients, while investigating the associated drivers of antibiotic prescribing in light of the current signs of antibiotic overuse. Adult patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis admitted to a Belgian 721-bed university hospital were analyzed retrospectively (March 11th–May 4th, 2020), excluding short-term admissions (< 24 h). Antibiotic prescriptions were analyzed and quantified, using Defined Daily Doses (DDD) per admission and per 100 bed days. Possible drivers of antibiotic prescribing were identified by means of mixed effects logistic modelling analysis with backwards selection. Of all included admissions (n = 429), 39% (n = 171) were prescribed antibiotics for (presumed) respiratory tract superinfection (3.6 DDD/admission; 31.5 DDD/100 bed days). Consumption of beta-lactamase inhibitor–penicillin combinations was the highest (2.55 DDD/admission; 23.3 DDD/100 bed days). Four drivers were identified: fever on admission (OR 2.97; 95% CI 1.42–6.22), lower SpO2/FiO2 ratio on admission (OR 0.96; 95% CI 0.92–0.99), underlying pulmonary disease (OR 3.04; 95% CI 1.12–8.27) and longer hospital stay (OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.03–1.16). We present detailed quantitative antibiotic data for presumed respiratory tract superinfections in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In addition to knowledge on antibiotic consumption, we hope antimicrobial stewardship programs will be able to use the drivers identified in this study to optimize their interventions in COVID-19 wards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021


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