Antimicrobial-associated organ injury among the elderly: A systematic review and meta-analysis protocol

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Introduction: Older adults (aged 65 years and above) constitute the fastest growing population cohort in the western world. There is increasing evidence that the burden of infections disproportionately affects this cohort of older adults and hence this vulnerable population is frequently exposed to antimicrobials. There is currently no systematic review summarising the evidence for risk of organ injury following antimicrobial exposure among older adults. This protocol will outline how we will conduct a systematic review and meta-analyses to examine the relationship between antimicrobial exposure and organ injury in older adults. Methods and analysis: We will search for PsycINFO, PubMed and EMBASE databases for relevant articles using MeSH terms where applicable. After removing duplicates, articles will be screened for inclusion into or exclusion from the study by two reviewers. Title and abstract screening will be done first, followed by full-text screening. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale will be used to assess the risk of bias for cohort and case control studies, and the Cochrane collaboration's risk of bias tool will be used for randomised control trials. We will explore the potential sources of heterogeneity and bias using funnel and forest plots of the included studies. Ethics and dissemination: During the conduct of the review, ethical principles will be observed to ensure integrity. Any potential conflicts of interests will be declared, all contributors acknowledged and no plagiarised material will be included in the review. The systematic review and meta-analysis will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in geriatrics. The findings will also be presented at international conferences in geriatrics or pharmacoepidemiology. The results will be communicated to patient and public engagement networks supported by the NHS Research and Development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere055210
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Early online date11 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Linda Humphreys, the science faculty librarian, University of Bath, for here immense help in training and support on article search strategies from various databases.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


  • epidemiology
  • geriatric medicine
  • infectious diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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