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Featured Expert: Katherine Perez, PharmD, BCPS – Antimicrobial Stewardship Director at bioMérieux (Southern U.S.)

PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2022

The rapid growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria makes it difficult to treat infections, which can lead to sepsis. However, with optimized sepsis management protocols and guidance from antimicrobial stewardship programs, it is possible to combat antimicrobial resistance alongside sepsis.

We sat down for a virtual interview with Katherine Perez, PharmD, BCPS, Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship for the Southern U.S. at bioMérieux, to learn about best practices that can achieve optimal care and improved antimicrobial use in septic patients.

Angie Myers works in at bioMérieux in North Caroline in the Lab Optimization Team. About 8 years ago, she had to have half of her thyroid removed—it was the first time in her life she had undergone surgery. Just a week after the operation, she developed a severe fever that was accompanied by confusion.

A few days before her illness escalated, Myers noticed she was feeling a little feverish.

“I’d kind of been pushing myself since the surgery and so I didn’t really think anything of it,” said Myers.

The following day, Myers woke up with chills. She called her doctor, who said he wanted to see her first thing the next morning.

Dr. Perez notes that when trying to strike a balance between sepsis protocol and antimicrobial stewardship objectives, it is important to recognize that stewardship is in fact part of sepsis protocol. Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are well-equipped to provide context for empiric recommendations by measuring local trends and resistance patterns.

Dr. Perez discusses the use of culture-independent diagnostic techniques for managing sepsis, noting that faster turnaround time and more sensitive testing are the biggest advantages. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) also can be used together to help manage sepsis.

CMS requirements and quality benchmarks also play a role in the optimization of care for sepsis patients. Dr. Perez states, “Quality indicators for stewardship can really help to inform sepsis management strategies in the hospital setting and can do a nice job complimenting each other.” She advises hospitals to work with their quality management and ICU teams to come up with strategies to better inform the management of sepsis.

Supporting clinicians and increasing cross-departmental collaboration can aid in the reduction of antimicrobial use in septic patients. In particular, pharmacists can play a vital role in improving outcomes by following up with patients throughout hospitalization.

To optimize sepsis care and improve antimicrobial use, it is important to keep the patient as the primary focus, ensuring the use of the right drug at the right time— “Optimize management to optimize outcomes,” says Perez.

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


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