Criteria to achieve safe antimicrobial intravenous-to-oral switch in hospitalised adult populations: a systematic rapid review

Eleanor J. Harvey, Monsey McLeod, Caroline De Brún, Diane Ashiru-Oredope*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives This rapid review aimed to assess and collate intravenous-to-oral switch (IVOS) criteria from the literature to achieve safe and effective antimicrobial IVOS in the hospital inpatient adult population. Design The rapid review follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Data sources OVID Embase and Medline databases. Eligibility criteria Articles of adult populations published globally between 2017 and 2021 were included. Data extraction and synthesis An Excel spreadsheet was designed with specific column headings. IVOS criteria from UK hospital IVOS policies informed the framework synthesis. Results IVOS criteria from 45/164 (27%) local IVOS policies were categorised into a five-section framework: (1) timing of IV antimicrobial review, (2) clinical signs and symptoms, (3) infection markers, (4) enteral route and (5) infection exclusions. The literature search identified 477 papers, of which 16 were included. The most common timing for review was 48-72 hours from initiation of intravenous antimicrobial (n=5, 30%). Nine studies (56%) stated clinical signs and symptoms must be improving. Temperature was the most frequently mentioned infection marker (n=14, 88%). Endocarditis had the highest mention as an infection exclusion (n=12, 75%). Overall, 33 IVOS criteria were identified to go forward into the Delphi process. Conclusion Through the rapid review, 33 IVOS criteria were collated and presented within five distinct and comprehensive sections. The literature highlighted the possibility of reviewing IVOS before 48-72 hours and of presenting heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate as a combination early warning score criterion. The criteria identified can serve as a starting point of IVOS criteria review for any institution globally, as no country or region limits were applied. Further research is required to achieve consensus on IVOS criteria from healthcare professionals that manage patients with infections. PROSPERO registration number CRD42022320343.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere068299
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • Organisation of health services
  • Protocols & guidelines
  • Quality in health care


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