Antibiotic dosing technology speeds recovery of ICU patients

26 April 2024

Queensland researchers have used dosing software to accelerate the effects of antibiotics in patients being treated for sepsis in Intensive Care Units.

Co-senior study author Professor Jason Roberts from UQ’s Centre for Clinical Research said the technique trialled in the DIRECT study meant patients received effective antibiotics in half the usual time, leading to faster recovery, higher quality care, cost savings and increased bed availability in the hospitals.

“We found we could dramatically improve the accuracy and quality of the treatment provided to adults and children, meaning less time in the ICU and a faster cure,” Professor Roberts said.

“We did this by rapidly identifying which bacteria was causing their severe infection, and then applying a personalised dosing approach to ensure each patient received the most effective dose for their needs.

“The team used Bayesian dosing software in 4 adult and paediatric ICUs, leading to an estimated health care saving of $12,000 per patient in some groups.”

The clinical trial was unusual because it included children and involved collaborators at four major Brisbane hospitals.

UQCCR Principal Research Fellow and co-senior author Associate Professor Adam Irwin said improving the accuracy of infection treatment was a great outcome.

“In this study, clinicians in paediatric and adult intensive care settings alike were confident to apply the dosing software recommendations, meaning critically ill children and adults will benefit from the results,” Dr Irwin said.

“We had ICU doctors and nurses, pharmacists, infectious diseases doctors, microbiologists and experts in health economics involved in the study.

“This research highlights our strong commitment to providing the best possible care for Queenslanders.

“We hope that further funding will allow us to demonstrate the value of this treatment approach to a broader international audience.”

DIRECT was funded by MRFF Rapid Applied Research Translation Program Grants administered through Health Translation Queensland, and was conducted at the Herston Infectious Diseases Institute in collaboration with Metro North Health, Queensland Children’s Hospital and Metro South Health.

The research is published in Intensive Care Medicine.

This article was originally published on The University of Queensland website.

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