Impact of antibacterials on subsequent resistance and clinical outcomes in adult patients with viral pneumonia: An opportunity for stewardship

Document Type


Publication Title

Critical Care


Introduction: Respiratory viruses are increasingly recognized as significant etiologies of pneumonia among hospitalized patients. Advanced technologies using multiplex molecular assays and polymerase-chain reaction increase the ability to identify viral pathogens and may ultimately impact antibacterial use. Method: This was a single-center retrospective cohort study to evaluate the impact of antibacterials in viral pneumonia on clinical outcomes and subsequent multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) infections/colonization. Patients admitted from March 2013 to November 2014 with positive respiratory viral panels (RVP) and radiographic findings of pneumonia were included. Patients transferred from an outside hospital or not still hospitalized 72 hours after the RVP report date were excluded. Patients were categorized based on exposure to systemic antibacterials: less than 3 days representing short-course therapy and 3 to 10 days being long-course therapy. Results: A total of 174 patients (long-course, n = 67; short-course, n = 28; mixed bacterial-viral infection, n = 79) were included with most being immunocompromised (56.3 %) with active malignancy the primary etiology (69.4 %). Rhinovirus/Enterovirus (23 %), Influenza (19 %), and Parainfluenza (15.5 %) were the viruses most commonly identified. A total of 13 different systemic antibacterials were used as empiric therapy in the 95 patients with pure viral infection for a total of 466 days-of-therapy. Vancomycin (50.7 %), cefepime (40.3 %), azithromycin (40.3 %), meropenem (23.9 %), and linezolid (20.9 %) were most frequently used. In-hospital mortality did not differ between patients with viral pneumonia in the short-course and long-course groups. Subsequent infection/colonization with a MDRO was more frequent in the long-course group compared to the short-course group (53.2 vs 21.1 %; P = 0.027). Conclusion: This study found that long-course antibacterial use in the setting of viral pneumonia had no impact on clinical outcomes but increased the incidence of subsequent MDRO infection/colonization.



Publication Date