Background: Six years after initiating a monthly antibiotic cycling protocol in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU), we retrospectively reviewed antibiogram-derived sensitivities of predominant gram-negative pathogens before and after antibiotic cycling. We also examined susceptibility patterns in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) where antibiotic cycling is not practiced. Materials and methods: Antibiotic cycling protocol was implemented in the SICU starting in 2003, with monthly rotation of piperacillin/tazobactam, imipenem/cilastin, and ceftazidime. SICU antibiogram data from positive clinical cultures for years 2000 and 2002 were included in the pre-cycling period, and those from 2004 to 2009 in the cycling period. Results: Profiles of SICU pseudomonal isolates before (n = 116) and after (n = 205) implementing antibiotic cycling showed statistically significant improvements in susceptibility to ceftazidime (66% versus 81%; P = 0.003) and piperacillin/tazobactam (75% versus 85%; P = 0.021), while susceptibility to imipenem remained unaltered (70% in each case; P = 0.989). Susceptibility of E. coli isolates to piperacillin/tazobactam improved significantly (46% versus 83%; P < 0.0005), trend analysis showing this improvement to persist over the study period (P = 0.025). Similar findings were not observed in the MICU. Review of 2004-2009 antibiotic prescription practices showed monthly heterogeneity in the SICU, and a 2-fold higher prescribing of piperacillin/tazobactam in the MICU (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Six years into antibiotic cycling, we found either steady or improved susceptibilities of clinically relevant gram-negative organisms in the SICU. How much of this effect is from cycling is unknown, but the antibiotic heterogeneity provided by this practice justifies its ongoing use.
- Antibiotic rotation (cycling)
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Intensive care units