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Estimating the association between antibiotic exposure and colonization with extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Gram-negative bacteria using machine learning methods: a multicentre, prospective cohort study

Tacconelli E, Górska A, De Angelis G, Lammens C, Restuccia G, Schrenzel J, Huson DH, Carević B, Preoţescu L, Carmeli Y, Kazma M, Spanu T, Carrara E, Malhotra-Kumar S, Gladstone BP

Objectives: The aim of the study was to measure the impact of antibiotic exposure on the acquisition of colonization with extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Gram-negative bacteria (ESBL-GNB) accounting for individual- and group-level confounding using machine-learning methods.

Methods: Patients hospitalized between September 2010 and June 2013 at six medical and six surgical wards in Italy, Serbia and Romania were screened for ESBL-GNB at hospital admission, discharge, antibiotic start, and after 3, 7, 15 and 30 days. Primary outcomes were the incidence rate and predictive factors of new ESBL-GNB colonization. Random forest algorithm was used to rank antibiotics according to the risk of selection of ESBL-GNB colonization in patients not colonized before starting antibiotics.

Results: We screened 10 034 patients collecting 28 322 rectal swab samples. New ESBL-GNB colonization incidence with and without antibiotic treatment was 22/1000 and 9/1000 exposure-days, respectively. In the adjusted regression analyses, antibiotic exposure (hazard ratio (HR) 2.38; 95% CI 1.29-4.40), age 60-69 years (HR 1.19; 95% CI 1.05-1.34), and spring season (HR 1.25; 95% CI 1.14-1.38) were independently associated with new colonization. Monotherapy ranked higher als combination therapy in promoting ESBL-GNB colonization. Among monotherapy, cephalosporins ranked first followed by tetracycline (second), macrolide (fourth) and cotrimoxazole (seventh). Overall the ranking of cephalosporins was lower when used in combination. Among combinations not including cephalosporins, quinolones plus carbapenems ranked highest (eighth). Among sequential therapies, quinolones ranked highest (tenth) when prescribed within 30 days of therapy with cephalosporins.

Conclusions: Impact of antibiotics on selecting ESBL-GNB at intestinal level varies if used in monotherapy or combination and according to previous antibiotic exposure. These finding should be explored in future clinical trials on antibiotic stewardship interventions.

Clinical trial registration: NCT01208519.

Keywords: Antibiotics usage; Colonization; Extended-spectrum β-lactamase; Incidence rate; Machine learning.

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