• Vol. 37 No. 1, 21–26
  • 15 January 2008

Use of Antibiotics in a Haematology Ward – An Audit

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Rising rates of antibiotic resistance prompted a review of antibiotic use policies hospitalwide. The Department of Haematology established a new set of consensus guidelines in 2002 for antibiotic use in febrile neutropenia. The aim of our study was to audit adherence to the guidelines established for febrile neutropenia in patients treated for haematologic malignancies.

Materials and Methods: An antibiotic escalation pathway was developed by haematologists and infectious disease physicians. Adherence to the guidelines was audited. Patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) or acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) who had febrile neutropenia after chemotherapy were reviewed. The audit was performed by a retrospective review of casenotes.

Results: Forty patients with 100 episodes of febrile neutropenia were surveyed. Thirty-two had AML, 7 had ALL and 1 had undifferentiated leukaemia. In 76% of episodes, fever developed within the first 14 days of neutropenia. In 31 episodes, cefepime was started as the first line agent; hence, compliance with the first-line agent was 31%. Fever defervesced in 13 episodes. The most common reason for switching antibiotics was persistent fever. There were clinical indications for non-compliance with the use of the first-line agent in all cases. There were 3 deaths – none related to non-compliance with or strict adherence to the guidelines. Four patients had proven fungal infections.

Conclusions: Given the complex nature of the cases, compliance was reasonable, as there were valid reasons in all cases where the guidelines were not adhered to. Based on our findings, the guidelines could be simplified.


Rising rates of antibiotic resistance prompted a review of antibiotic use policies hospitalwide. The Department of Haematology established a new set of consensus guidelines in 2002 for antibiotic use in febrile neutropenia. We were tasked by the hospital’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee to audit adherence to the guidelines.

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