Antimicrobial prescription and usage in the neonatal intensive care units of a Caribbean country: A prospective observational study

S. Hariharan*, D. Chen, C. Harry, R. Ragobar, R. Boodoosingh, C. Gangoo, A. Hector, J. Reid, S. Raju | JNPM 2014;

Abstract. OBJECTIVE: To study the prescribing patterns and usage of antimicrobials in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) of Trinidad & Tobago. METHODS: A 3-month prospective observational study was conducted at the three NICUs at the major public hospitals. Data included antimicrobials prescribed, route of administration, culture and sensitivity reports, leukocyte count, length of stay and outcome of patients. RESULTS: 353 patients were studied, 57.5% of the patients were males. Mean birth weight was 2.96 ± 0.94 (Standard Deviation) kg. Admission diagnoses included meconium stained liquor, preterm, respiratory distress, sepsis, etc. Length of stay ranged between 1 to 76 days, (median 4, Interquartile Range 1–8). The mean leukocyte count was 15.7 ± 8.5 × 103 per μL. Overall, 645 culture specimens were sent; umbilical swab (27.6%), throat swab (27.0%) and blood (16.4%) being the most common specimens. 310 (48.1%) showed no bacterial growth. Overall, 16 different antimicrobials were used. First line antibiotic of choice was a combination of ampicillin and gentamicin (85.8 %). Second line antibiotic of choice was cefotaxime. The overall mortality was 7.6%. CONCLUSION: The choice of antimicrobials in the NICUs of major public hospitals is mostly empirical and not primarily dictated by the culture and sensitivity reports, emphasizing the need for antibiotic stewardship programme in Trinidad & Tobago.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Seetharaman Hariharan, Anesthesia & Critical Care Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, Trinidad (West Indies). Tel./Fax: +1 868 6624030;E-mail: