Intravenous literature: Sequeiros, I.M. and Jarad, N.A. (2009) Home intravenous antibiotic treatment for acute pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis – Is it good for the patient? Annals of Thoracic Medicine. 4(3), p.111-4.
There is a worldwide drive for the home management of chronic respiratory diseases. With the widespread use of home intravenous (IV) treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) pulmonary exacerbations (PExs), evidence pointing to an inferior outcome of care for home-treated patients in comparison to hospital-treated patients is a cause of concern. Currently, patients who self-administer IV antibiotics at home are provided with equipment and instructions on the use of antibiotics. Policies vary; but in most UK centers, these patients are then followed up by the multidisciplinary team only on days 1, 7 and 14 of the treatment course. We aimed to review the current published literature in search for evidence for the value and the shortfalls of self-administered IV treatment at home for acute PExs in CF patients in comparison to conventional hospital treatment. We searched the electronic database system Medline for published papers regarding studies comparing home- and hospital-based IV antibiotic treatment for both adult and pediatric CF patients. Sixteen studies were identified and grouped into those that showed a similar outcome between home and hospital treatment and those that showed an inferior outcome for home management. Most studies were retrospective or inadequately powered to provide clear answers. Ideally, outcome of care for home treatment should be at least equal to outcome for hospital treatment. Extensive efforts should be made to standardize therapies preserving the advantages of home management and addressing the perceived reasons for an inferior outcome. Until further studies provide definitive answers, treatment at home should be reserved for adequately selected patients and individualized depending on the unique settings of each CF center and specific patients’ requirements. There is great need for a prospective randomized controlled trial comparing home and hospital treatments in order to clarify this matter.