The impact of antimicrobial resistance on modern medicine
Most research on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) focuses on its effects on communicable diseases. But AMR can result in a wide variety of negative outcomes for patients with non-communicable health conditions and/or who are exposed to certain healthcare services.
What is the issue?
Resistance to antimicrobial drugs is a major public health concern which has the potential to leave patients unable to treat their infections, which could prove fatal. Antimicrobials are also frequently used in the care of non-infectious conditions where there is an increased risk of infection, such as for surgery and in intensive care units. However, there is limited understanding of how antimicrobial resistance could impact these wider areas of healthcare.
How did we help?
RAND Europe was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust to explore the impacts of antimicrobial resistance for non-infectious health conditions and on health services. To do this, researchers conducted a Rapid Evidence Assessment of the literature on this topic.
What did we find?
- Antimicrobial resistance can result in a wide variety of negative outcomes for patients with non-communicable health conditions and/or who are exposed to certain healthcare services. In some cases, these outcomes can lead to a loss of life.
- Other outcomes associated with antimicrobial resistance include complications after surgery, sepsis in infants and diabetic patients developing drug resistant TB.
- Out of all the health conditions and services literature identified, at least one study found that patients with a resistant infection were at higher risk of death than those with a drug-susceptible infection.
- Patients with drug resistant infections alongside other health conditions require additional medical support, such as admission to intensive care units, admission to and longer stays in hospital, and the need for invasive treatment (such as mechanical ventilation).
- There are a number of gaps in the literature that need to be filled. There were no studies found for a number of health conditions in the literature search e.g. women’s health topics, some cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, dermatological conditions, rheumatological conditions and dental health.
- There is a need for further high-quality research in this area. For some of the health conditions that were covered in the reviewed literature, there were fewer than 5 studies and/or the strength of evidence was weak.