Infectious Diseases - Research Publications

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    Impact of a hospital-wide sepsis pathway on improved quality of care and clinical outcomes in surgical patients at a comprehensive cancer centre
    Hiong, A ; Thursky, KA ; Venn, G ; Teh, BW ; Haeusler, GM ; Crane, M ; Slavin, MA ; Worth, LJ (WILEY, 2019-05-01)
    PURPOSE: Sepsis is a significant complication following cancer surgery. Although standardised care bundles improve sepsis outcomes in other populations, the benefits in cancer patients are unclear. The objectives of this study were to describe the epidemiology of sepsis in cancer patients post-surgery, and to evaluate the impact of a clinical sepsis pathway on management and clinical outcomes. METHODS: A standardised hospital-wide sepsis pathway was developed in 2013, and all cases of sepsis at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2014 were retrospectively evaluated. Inclusion criteria were sepsis onset during the 100-day period following a surgical procedure for cancer diagnosis. Patients were identified using ICD-10-AM sepsis discharge codes, audit documentation and the hospital's antimicrobial approval system. Sepsis episodes were classified as managed on- or off-pathway. RESULTS: A total of 119 sepsis episodes were identified. Of these, 71 (59.7%) were managed on the sepsis pathway. Episodes managed on-pathway resulted more frequently in administration of appropriate antibiotics compared to those off-pathway (94.4% vs. 66.7%, p < 0.001), and had shorter time to first-dose antibiotics (median 85 vs. 315 min, p < 0.001). Pathway utilisation was associated with significant reductions in need for inotropes (7% vs. 13%, p = 0.023), ventilation (3% vs. 10%, p = 0.006) and length of hospitalisation (median 15 vs. 30 days, p = 0.008). The most frequent source of infection was organ-space surgical site infection (24.4% of instances). CONCLUSIONS: A dedicated hospital-wide sepsis pathway had significant impact on the quality of care and clinical outcomes of sepsis in cancer surgery patients. Cost-benefit analysis of sepsis pathways for cancer patients is required.
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    Managing haematology and oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: interim consensus guidance
    Weinkove, R ; McQuilten, ZK ; Adler, J ; Agar, MR ; Blyth, E ; Cheng, AC ; Conyers, R ; Haeusler, GM ; Hardie, C ; Jackson, C ; Lane, SW ; Middlemiss, T ; Mollee, P ; Mulligan, SP ; Ritchie, D ; Ruka, M ; Solomon, B ; Szer, J ; Thursky, KA ; Wood, EM ; Worth, LJ ; Yong, MK ; Slavin, MA ; Teh, BW (WILEY, 2020-05-13)
    INTRODUCTION: A pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, causes COVID-19, a potentially life-threatening respiratory disease. Patients with cancer may have compromised immunity due to their malignancy and/or treatment, and may be at elevated risk of severe COVID-19. Community transmission of COVID-19 could overwhelm health care services, compromising delivery of cancer care. This interim consensus guidance provides advice for clinicians managing patients with cancer during the pandemic. MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic: In patients with cancer with fever and/or respiratory symptoms, consider causes in addition to COVID-19, including other infections and therapy-related pneumonitis. For suspected or confirmed COVID-19, discuss temporary cessation of cancer therapy with a relevant specialist. Provide information on COVID-19 for patients and carers. Adopt measures within cancer centres to reduce risk of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 acquisition; support population-wide social distancing; reduce demand on acute services; ensure adequate staffing; and provide culturally safe care. Measures should be equitable, transparent and proportionate to the COVID-19 threat. Consider the risks and benefits of modifying cancer therapies due to COVID-19. Communicate treatment modifications, and review once health service capacity allows. Consider potential impacts of COVID-19 on the blood supply and availability of stem cell donors. Discuss and document goals of care, and involve palliative care services in contingency planning. CHANGES IN MANAGEMENT AS A RESULT OF THIS STATEMENT: This interim consensus guidance provides a framework for clinicians managing patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the rapidly changing situation, clinicians must also monitor national, state, local and institutional policies, which will take precedence. ENDORSED BY: Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group; Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group; Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology/Oncology Group; Australia and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine; Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases; Bone Marrow Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand; Cancer Council Australia; Cancer Nurses Society of Australia; Cancer Society of New Zealand; Clinical Oncology Society of Australia; Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand; National Centre for Infections in Cancer; New Zealand Cancer Control Agency; New Zealand Society for Oncology; and Palliative Care Australia.
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    Cost-effectiveness of home-based care of febrile neutropenia in children with cancer
    Tew, M ; Lourenco, RDA ; Gordon, JR ; Thursky, KA ; Slavin, MA ; Babl, FA ; Orme, L ; Bryant, PA ; Teh, BW ; Dalziel, K ; Haeusler, GM (WILEY, 2021-12-02)
    INTRODUCTION: Home-based treatment of febrile neutropenia (FN) in children with cancer with oral or intravenous antibiotics is safe and effective. There are limited data on the economic impact of this model of care. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of implementing an FN programme, incorporating home-based intravenous antibiotics for carefully selected patients, in a tertiary paediatric hospital. METHODS: A decision analytic model was constructed to compare costs and outcomes of the home-based FN programme, with usual in-hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics. The programme included a clinical decision rule to stratify patients by risk for severe infection and home-based eligibility criteria using disease, chemotherapy and patient-level factors. Health outcomes (quality of life) and probabilities of FN risk classification and home-based eligibility were based on prospectively collected data between 2017 and 2019. Patient-level costs were extracted from hospital administrative records. Cost-effectiveness was expressed as the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). FINDINGS: The mean health care cost of home-based FN treatment in low-risk patients was Australian dollars (A$) 7765 per patient compared to A$20,396 for in-hospital treatment (mean difference A$12,632 [95% CI: 12,496-12,767]). Overall, the home-based FN programme was the dominant strategy, being more effective (0.0011 QALY [95% CI: 0.0011-0.0012]) and less costly. Results of the model were most sensitive to proportion of children eligible for home-based care programme. CONCLUSION: Compared to in-hospital FN care, the home-based FN programme is cost-effective, with savings arising from cheaper cost of caring for children at home. These savings could increase as more patients eligible for home-based care are included in the programme.
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    Consensus guidelines for antifungal prophylaxis in haematological malignancy and haemopoietic stem cell transplantation, 2021
    Teh, BW ; Yeoh, DK ; Haeusler, GM ; Yannakou, CK ; Fleming, S ; Lindsay, J ; Slavin, MA (WILEY, 2021-11-01)
    Antifungal prophylaxis can reduce morbidity and mortality from invasive fungal disease (IFD). However, its use needs to be optimised and appropriately targeted to patients at highest risk to derive the most benefit. In addition to established risks for IFD, considerable recent progress in the treatment of malignancies has resulted in the development of new 'at-risk' groups. The changing epidemiology of IFD and emergence of drug resistance continue to impact choice of prophylaxis, highlighting the importance of active surveillance and knowledge of local epidemiology. These guidelines aim to highlight emerging risk groups and review the evidence and limitations around new formulations of established agents and new antifungal drugs. It provides recommendations around use and choice of antifungal prophylaxis, discusses the potential impact of the changing epidemiology of IFD and emergence of drug resistance, and future directions for risk stratification to assist optimal management of highly vulnerable patients.
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    Implementation of a whole of hospital sepsis clinical pathway in a cancer hospital: impact on sepsis management, outcomes and costs.
    Thursky, K ; Lingaratnam, S ; Jayarajan, J ; Haeusler, GM ; Teh, B ; Tew, M ; Venn, G ; Hiong, A ; Brown, C ; Leung, V ; Worth, LJ ; Dalziel, K ; Slavin, MA (BMJ, 2018)
    Infection and sepsis are common problems in cancer management affecting up to 45% of patients and are associated with significant morbidity, mortality and healthcare utilisation. OBJECTIVE: To develop and implement a whole of hospital clinical pathway for the management of sepsis (SP) in a specialised cancer hospital and to measure the impact on patient outcomes and healthcare utilisation. METHODS: A multidisciplinary sepsis working party was established. Process mapping of practices for recognition and management of sepsis was undertaken across all clinical areas. A clinical pathway document that supported nurse-initiated sepsis care, prompt antibiotic and fluid resuscitation was implemented. Process and outcome measures for patients with sepsis were collected preimplementation (April-December 2012), postimplementation cohorts (April-December 2013), and from January to December 2014. RESULTS: 323 patients were evaluated (111 preimplementation, 212 postimplementation). More patients with sepsis had lactate measured (75.0% vs 17.2%) and appropriate first dose antibiotic (90.1% vs 76.1%) (all p<0.05). Time to antibiotics was halved (55 vs 110 min, p<0.05). Patients with sepsis had lower rates of intensive care unit admission (17.1% vs 35.5%), postsepsis length of stay (7.5 vs 9.9 days), and sepsis-related mortality (5.0% vs 16.2%) (all p<0.05). Mean total hospital admission costs were lower in the SP cohort, with a significant difference in admission costs between historical and SP non-surgical groups of $A8363 (95% CI 81.02 to 16645.32, p=0.048) per patient on the pathway. A second cohort of 449 patients with sepsis from January to December 2014 demonstrated sustained improvement. CONCLUSIONS: The SP was associated with significant improvement in patient outcomes and reduced costs. The SP has been sustained since 2013, and has been successfully implemented in another hospital with further implementations underway in Victoria.