Original article: Assessment of the intensive care unit treatment of pneumonia at a veterans affairs facility

Carrie Griffiths, Steven Pass, W. Yarbrough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in the critically ill. Clinicians use a range of duration for antibiotic treatment from 7 to 14 days or longer. Failure to de-escalate antimicrobial therapy in a timely manner may lead to increased antimicrobial resistance, increased risk of side effects, and increased cost. Objective: To investigate potential methods to improve treatment of pneumonia for patients in 4 intensive care units (ICUs). Methods: A retrospective descriptive chart review was conducted at the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS). Veterans aged 18 to 90 years admitted to the ICU with a diagnosis of pneumonia were included. Descriptive statistics were used to interpret the data. Current management was reviewed to identify markers such as length of antibiotic therapy, ICU length of stay, and inpatient mortality. Secondary objectives included appropriateness and accuracy of the empiric regimen. Results: Of the 1,854 Veterans admitted, 107 met inclusion criteria. Antibiotic choices for positive cultures were appropriate in 45 out of 46 (98%) patients, with an average length of therapy of 8.6 ± 6.3 days. De-escalation of antibiotics based on sensitivity data occurred in 73% of positive cultures. Conclusions: Pneumonia in the VANTHCS ICUs is initially treated with empiric antibiotics. Empiric antibiotic therapy for pneumonia was appropriate and accurate over this time period. Opportunities exist for de-escalation in patients with or without positive cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-955
Number of pages6
JournalHospital Pharmacy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • antibiotics
  • de-escalation
  • pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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