ARMP Documents Trends in Antimicrobial Susceptibility

How can a hospital tell if a commonly used antibiotic is showing activity against a bacterial infection within its institution? By participating in the Antimicrobial Resistance Management Program (ARMP), a project of the University of Florida.

ARMP, an ongoing national surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, provides hospitals with the ability to delineate occurrence and extent of such resistance before it becomes significant, allowing modification or selection of alternative agents and the potential to reduce costs associated with inappropriate use of antibiotics.

In a poster presented by John G. Gums, PharmD, ARMP program director, during the 2004 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, he noted that the national aggregate database, which can be accessed at, now includes more than 27 million isolates from 353 institutions, representing 19 organisms and 48 antibiotics.

Using data from ARMP, hospitals and institutions can benchmark resistance at the local level to limit the effect of antibiotic resistance on patients and the public, said Dr. Gums, professor of pharmacy and medicine in the Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Community Health and Family Medicine at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Antibiotic resistance has been identified as an impending public health crisis, especially given the decline in the introduction of new antibiotic agents.

ARMP, begun in 1997, is an ongoing study to document trends in antimicrobial susceptibility patterns in inpatient and outpatient isolates and to identify relationships between antibiotic use and resistance rates. Hospitals participate in ARMP at no cost. After providing a minimum of three years of antibiogram or sensitivity report data, they receive a customized antibiogram report and analysis that details antimicrobial susceptibility trends specific to their institution benchmarked against national, regional, and state comparators. This report includes recommendations for continued surveillance and identifies areas of inconsistencies with national and regional averages.

The data provided by the institutions (in a HIPAA-compliant, non-identifying format) comprise the ARMP national aggregate database, which can be accessed at the ARMP Web site, National and regional trends are available as figures and in tabular format for 1997-2003 for all organism/antibiotic combinations collected. Regions include Northeast, Southeast, North Central, South Central, Northwest, and Southwest. A custom report may also be created comparing antibiotic use and resistance rates for up to seven national, regional and/or state comparators for individual years or a collective number of years.

Source: D.A. Hughes & Associates