Purpose To determine the consequences of treating febrile geriatric patients with a suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) with antibiotics that have high resistance rates due primarily to extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing bacteria. Methods In this cohort study, we selected 257 consecutive hospitalised patients aged ≥70 years with a chief symptom of fever, possibly due to a UTI and initially treated with antibiotics with rates in our hospital of urinary culture resistance >20%. Patients with severe sepsis were excluded. The main outcomes measures were in vitro bacterial resistance to initial antibiotic therapy (BRIAT), response to therapy, hospitalisation days and mortality. Results Urine cultures were positive in 64.2% (165 of 257) of the patients and BRIAT occurred in 28.0% (72 of 257). Response rates were 100% (93 of 93) in those with bacteria sensitive to initial antibiotic therapy, 95.7% (88 of 92) in the culture negative patients, and 66.7% (48 of 72) in those with BRIAT (p<0.001). There were no deaths due to deterioration during the initial treatment period because of BRIAT. In the patients with BRIAT, the median length of hospitalisation was 3 days longer than that in the other patients (7 and 4 days, respectively, p<0.001). Conclusions We conclude that initial broad spectrum antibiotic treatment could potentially lower the median length of hospitalisation by 3 days in many hospitalised geriatric patients without an extra-urinary tract source for their fever. This benefit needs to be balanced against the risk to the individual patient and to the general public of increasing bacterial resistance rates to broader spectrum antibiotics often held in reserve.
- GERIATRIC MEDICINE
- INFECTIOUS DISEASES