Duration of therapy recommended for bacteraemic illness varies widely amongst clinicians

Mostafa Alwan, Joshua S. Davis, Nick Daneman, Robert Fowler, Yahya Shehabi, Benjamin Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The optimum duration of antimicrobial therapy would eradicate infection whilst minimising potential adverse drug effects to the patient. Australian and New Zealand infectious diseases (ID) and ICU specialists were surveyed regarding their recommended duration of antibiotic treatment for five common bacteraemic syndromes. A total of 239 clinicians responded to the survey (15.5% ICU and 84.5% ID). Overall, the most common reported durations were 7 (33.7%), 10 (25.9%) and 14 (26.0%) days, with 46% of responses recommending ≤7 days. Most respondents (>75% for each characteristic) would not modify duration based on host characteristics such as patient age or co-morbidities. ID physicians recommended longer durations than ICU physicians for all five syndromes (ID, median 10, IQR 7–14, range 1–28 days; ICU, median 7, IQR 5–10, range 2–21 days). Across all respondents, the median (IQR) duration for each syndrome was: CVC-BSI, 7 (7–10) days; bacteraemic pneumonia, 7 (7–10) days; bacteraemic UTI, 10 (7–14) days; bacteraemic IAI, 7 (7–12) days; and bacteraemic SSTI, 10 (7–14) days. Marked variation exists amongst clinicians’ recommended duration of antibiotic treatment for BSI. A proportion of clinicians recommend therapy of ≤7 days at present (33.3–59.7% across scenarios). Patient characteristics are not strongly considered in the decision on therapy duration. This survey was undertaken as preparatory work for initiation of the BALANCE study, an ongoing randomised trial comparing 7 days with 14 days of therapy for BSI, providing an evidence base to inform best clinical treatment for this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-188
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number2
Early online date11 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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