The clinical utility of a day of hospital observation after switching from intravenous to oral antibiotic therapy in the treatment of pyelonephritis

V. M. Caceres, K. C. Stange, G. E. Kikano, S. J. Zyzanski

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. This study was undertaken to investigate the clinical utility of a widespread practice: the 24-hour in-hospital observation period that commonly follows when the treatment of patients hospitalized with acute pyelonephritis is switched from intravenous to oral antibiotics. A preliminary survey of infectious disease specialists confirmed the pervasiveness of this practice and the lack of scientific evidence to support it. Methods. The clinical utility of in-hospital observation was examined by means of a retrospective chart review of 138 consecutive nonpregnant adult patients who were between the ages of 17 and 65 and had been admitted to a university hospital with a diagnosis of acute pyelonephritis. The progress notes, temperature charts, and laboratory test results were reviewed for any evidence of clinical relapse or adverse reaction to the antibiotic that occurred in the 24-hour period after the switch from intravenous to oral antibiotic therapy. Results. Only two (1%) patients had evidence of clinical relapse within the study period. Five (4%) patients had adverse reactions to their oral antibiotic, none of which were serious. The 95% confidence interval for the percentage of patients who might experience a clinical relapse was from 1% to 5%; for adverse antibiotic reaction, 1% to 8%. Conclusions. This study shows the limited usefulness of an in-hospital observation period. Savings resulting from avoiding an extra day of hospitalization could amount to millions of dollars annually in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-339
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Volume39
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

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