Uluru, Australia

UQ NHMRC PhD scholar Danny Tsai is on a mission to improve survival rates and clinical outcomes for Indigenous Australians with sepsis.

A clinical pharmacist, Mr Tsai said research showed Indigenous Australians had significantly higher hospital and ICU admission rates for sepsis, and a higher incidence of infection-related hospital deaths than non-Indigenous patients.

He recently conducted a series of studies to generate pharmacokinetic data that is vital to guiding the optimal antibiotic dosing to maximise survival rates and clinical outcomes.

“As part of REDUCE, the UQ NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence, the studies were performed at the Alice Springs Hospital ICU to investigate the pharmacokinetics of four commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotics, as well as studying the kidney function of critically ill Indigenous patients,” he said.

“In these studies, a large variability in the antibiotic concentrations between patients was observed which was primarily associated with differences in kidney function.

“Overall, it was found that the Indigenous patients had slightly higher antibiotic concentrations for antibiotics that are partially eliminated by the liver (ceftriaxone and piperacillin) when compared with published data in critically ill non-Indigenous patients.

“On the other hand, a difference was not detected for antibiotics that are eliminated almost exclusively via the kidneys (vancomycin and meropenem).”

Mr Tsui said the clinical significance of the differences in antibiotic concentrations observed in the study could not be assessed due to the small size, but they served to inform the robust design of later clinical trials.