Inpatient management of uncomplicated skin and soft tissue infections in 34 Veterans Affairs medical centers: A medication use evaluation

Skin and Soft Tissue Infection Medication Use Evaluation Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background. Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are a key antimicrobial stewardship target because they are a common infection in hospitalized patients, and non-guideline-concordant antibiotic use is frequent. To inform antimicrobial stewardship interventions, we evaluated the proportion of veterans hospitalized with SSTIs who received guideline-concordant empiric antibiotics or an appropriate total duration of antibiotics. Methods. A retrospective medication use evaluation was performed in 34 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers between 2016 and 2017. Hospitalized patients who received antibiotics for uncomplicated SSTI were included. Exclusion criteria were complicated SSTI, severe immunosuppression, and antibiotics for any non-SSTI indication. Data were collected by manual chart review. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients receiving both guideline-concordant empiric antibiotics and appropriate treatment duration, defined as 5-10 days of antibiotics. Data were analyzed and reported using descriptive statistics. Results. Of the 3890 patients manually evaluated for inclusion, 1828 patients met inclusion criteria. There were 1299 nonpurulent (71%) and 529 purulent SSTIs (29%). Overall, 250 patients (14%) received guideline-concordant empiric therapy and an appropriate duration. The most common reason for non-guideline-concordance was receipt of antibiotics targeting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in 906 patients (70%) with a nonpurulent SSTI. Additionally, 819 patients (45%) received broad-spectrum Gram-negative coverage, and 860 patients (48%) received an antibiotic duration >10 days. Conclusions. We identified 3 common opportunities to improve antibiotic use for patients hospitalized with uncomplicated SSTIs: use of anti-MRSA antibiotics in patients with nonpurulent SSTIs, use of broad-spectrum Gram-negative antibiotics, and prolonged durations of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscess
  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Cellulitis
  • Skin
  • Soft tissue infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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