Using NHSNs Antimicrobial Use Option to Monitor and Improve Antibiotic Stewardship in Neonates


The Antimicrobial Use (AU) Option of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) is a surveillance resource that can provide actionable data for antibiotic stewardship programs. Such data are used to enable measurements of AU across hospitals and before, during, and after stewardship interventions.


We used monthly AU data and annual facility survey data submitted to the NHSN to describe hospitals and neonatal patient care locations reporting to the AU Option in 2017, examine frequencies of most commonly reported agents, and analyze variability in AU rates across hospitals and levels of care. We used results from these analyses in a collaborative project with Vermont Oxford Network to develop neonatal-specific Standardized Antimicrobial Administration Ratio (SAAR) agent categories and neonatal-specific NHSN Annual Hospital Survey questions.


As of April 1, 2018, 351 US hospitals had submitted data to the AU Option from at least 1 neonatal unit. In 2017, ampicillin and gentamicin were the most frequently reported antimicrobial agents. On average, total rates of AU were highest in level III NICUs, followed by special care nurseries, level II-III NICUs, and well newborn nurseries. Seven antimicrobial categories for neonatal SAARs were created, and 6 annual hospital survey questions were developed.


A small but growing percentage of US hospitals have submitted AU data from neonatal patient care locations to NHSN, enabling the use of AU data aggregated by NHSN as benchmarks for neonatal antimicrobial stewardship programs and further development of the SAAR summary measure for neonatal AU.

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