Epidemiology and Management of invasive infections among people who Use drugs (EMU): protocol for a prospective, multicentre cohort study

Lucy O. Attwood, Mellissa Bryant, Sue J. Lee, Olga Vujovic, Peter Higgs, Joseph S. Doyle, Andrew J. Stewardson, on behalf of the EMU Study Group

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INTRODUCTION: People who inject drugs (PWID) are at risk of invasive infections such as bloodstream infections, endocarditis, osteomyelitis and septic arthritis. Such infections require prolonged antibiotic therapy, but there is limited evidence about the optimal care model to deliver to this population. The Epidemiology and Management of invasive infections among people who Use drugs (EMU) study aims to (1) describe the current burden, clinical spectrum, management and outcomes of invasive infections in PWID; (2) determine the impact of currently available models of care on completion of planned antimicrobials for PWID admitted to hospital with invasive infections and (3) determine postdischarge outcomes of PWID admitted with invasive infections at 30 and 90 days. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: EMU is a prospective multicentre cohort study of Australian public hospitals who provide care to PWIDs with invasive infections. All patients who have injected drugs in the previous six months and are admitted to a participating site for management of an invasive infection are eligible. EMU has two components: (1) EMU-Audit will collect information from medical records, including demographics, clinical presentation, management and outcomes; (2) EMU-Cohort will augment this with interviews at baseline, 30 and 90 days post-discharge, and data linkage examining readmission rates and mortality. The primary exposure is antimicrobial treatment modality, categorised as inpatient intravenous antimicrobials, outpatient antimicrobial therapy, early oral antibiotics or lipoglycopeptide. The primary outcome is confirmed completion of planned antimicrobials. We aim to recruit 146 participants over a 2-year period. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: EMU has been approved by the Alfred Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (Project number 78815.) EMU-Audit will collect non-identifiable data with a waiver of consent. EMU-Cohort will collect identifiable data with informed consent. Findings will be presented at scientific conferences and disseminated by peer-review publications. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12622001173785; Pre-results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere070236
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Epidemiology
  • Substance misuse

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