In the early eighties, in the US the advantages (reduced costs, no hospitalisation trauma in children, no immobilization syndrome in elderly, reduction of nosocomial and acquired infections by multi-resistant organisms) of OPAT were identified and suitable therapeutic programs were established. Following the US experience, other countries set up their own OPAT programs which vary considerably from country to country because of different ways in which infections are managed in different parts of the world and because of different reimbursement systems. In order to understand the ways of managing OPAT and its results, a National OPAT Registry was set up in 1999 in Italy belonging to a wider International OPAT database, which collects data also from USA, Canada, Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. Up to now 396 patients and as many antibiotic courses have been included in the National Registry by eight different centres. The analysis of data permits to get information about the criteria of patient's selection, treatment (route of administration, site of care, choice of antibiotic, dosage and duration), outcomes and possible side-effects. Italian results offer a quite peculiar picture of OPAT in this country when comparing data with those of other countries. In contrast with other countries where soft tissue infections and osteomyelitis are the most frequent diagnoses for including patients in OPAT programmes, in Italy pneumonia and bronchitis are the top two amenable infections. Ceftriaxone, Teicoplanin and Amikacin are absolutely the top three antibiotics selected for OPAT in Italy which confirm that a single daily dose regimen represents a great advantage in terms of compliance. Finally, a large percentage of antibiotic courses (50%) are carried out by using the i.m. administration route, which is very unusual in other countries. OPAT Registry is still ongoing and it will give us more detailed information in the future about the management of infections in the outpatient setting, but it already permits to define an actual picture of OPAT in our country and/or to compare and correlate data and information from different countries.
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