Rapid Diagnostics & Antimicrobial Stewardship Can Guide Treatment for Sepsis Patients: Interview with Dr. Eric R. Wenzler

By the bioMérieux Connection Editors

Featured Expert: Eric R. Wenzler, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP, AAHIVP – Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

As pathogens change over time, they can become resistant to antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat infections that may lead to sepsis. This ongoing growth of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria continues to pose a threat to public health.

We sat down for a virtual interview with Eric R. Wenzler, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP, AAHIVP, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, to learn more about the role of diagnostics and stewardship intervention when caring for sepsis patients.

Balancing Sepsis and Antimicrobial Stewardship

For high-risk patients or patients with bloodstream infections, it is vital to administer empiric antibiotic therapy promptly. It is also imperative that antibiotic use aligns with stewardship objectives. As Dr. Eric Wenzler explains, striking a balance between sepsis protocol and antimicrobial stewardship objectives will continue to be a challenge.

Dr. Wenzler also shares his perspective on a recent study, which suggests that the timing of effective antibiotic administration for patients with sepsis and septic shock should be considered separately. While septic shock patients should be prioritized based on their risk, Dr. Wenzler also says that rapid, timely, effective antimicrobial therapy is important in all patients, not just those with serious infections. When administering antibiotic therapy to patients with bloodstream infections, it is vital to ensure that the “Five Rs” are followed: right patient, right drug, right dose, right duration, and right route.

Diagnostics and Teamwork Are Vital to Stewardship Efforts

Dr. Wenzler notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that collaboration between clinicians and the lab is a necessity, and it has highlighted the vital importance of diagnostics and the clinical lab. An increase in collaboration, coupled with the deployment of diagnostics that deliver timely results, can support a comprehensive approach to aligning stewardship objectives with sepsis care. Knowledge of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling and guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and quality benchmarks may also provide support.

For all organizations, even those with limited resource capacity, investing in diagnostic technology may be the most optimal way to support sepsis protocol and stewardship objectives. “Rapid diagnostics in conjunction with antimicrobial stewardship intervention, especially in patients with bloodstream infections, has been shown to decrease mortality significantly, decrease length of stay and cost,” Dr. Wenzler says.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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