Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is a growing public health problem worldwide, in part related to inadequate antibiotic use. A better knowledge of physicians' motivations, attitudes and practice about AMR and prescribing should enable the design and implementation of effective antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs). The objective of the study was to assess attitudes and perceptions concerning AMR and use of antibiotics among surgeons who regularly perform emergency or trauma surgery.
A cross-sectional web-based survey was conducted contacting 4904 individuals belonging to a mailing list provided by the World Society of Emergency Surgery. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The survey was open for 5 weeks (from May 3, 2017, to June 6, 2017), within which two reminders were sent. The self-administered questionnaire was developed by a multidisciplinary team; reliability and validity were assessed.
The overall response rate was 12.5%. Almost all participants considered AMR an important worldwide problem, but 45.6% of them underrated the problem in their own hospitals. Surgeons provided with periodic reports on local AMR demonstrated a lower underrating in their hospital. Only 66.3% of the surgeons stated to receive periodic reports on local AMR data, and among them, 56.2% had consulted them to select an antibiotic in the previous month. Availability of systematic reports about AMR, availability of guidelines for therapy of infections, and advice from an infectious diseases specialist were considered very helpful measures to improve antibiotic prescribing by 68.0, 65.7, and 64.9%, respectively. Persuasive and restrictive ASPs were both considered helpful measures by 64.5%. Moreover, 86.3% considered locally developed guidelines more useful than national ones. Only 21.9% received formal training in antibiotic prescribing in the previous year; among them, 86.6% declared to be interested in receiving more training.
Availability of periodic reports on local AMR data was considered an important tool to guide surgeons in choosing the correct antibiotic and to increase awareness of the problem of AMR. Local guidelines for therapy of infections should be implemented in every emergency surgery setting, and developed by a multidisciplinary team directly involving surgeons, infectious diseases specialists, and microbiologists, and formally established in an ASP.