Strategies to prevent antimicrobial resistance in the intensive care unit

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Critical Care Medicine


Objective: To assemble the available clinical data for the prevention of antimicrobial resistance into practical recommendations for clinicians. Data Source: A Medline database and references from identified articles were employed to perform a literature search relating to the prevention of antimicrobial resistance. Conclusions: Antimicrobial resistance has emerged as an important determinant of mortality for patients in the intensive care unit. This is largely due to the increasing presence of pathogenic microorganisms with resistance to existing antimicrobial agents, resulting in the administration of inappropriate treatment. Effective strategies for the prevention of antimicrobial resistance within intensive care units are available and should be aggressively implemented. These strategies can be divided into non-pharmacologic infection control strategies (e.g., routine hand hygiene, implementation of infection-specific prevention protocols) and antibiotic management strategies (e.g., shorter courses of appropriate antibiotic treatment, narrowing of antimicrobial spectrum based on culture results). Increasing current efforts aimed at the prevention of antimicrobial resistance is especially important given the limited availability of new antimicrobial drug classes for the foreseeable future. Copyright © 2005 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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