Patricia S. Fontela

Pediatric and Advanced Intensive Care Units

Hospital information

Academic appointments

Assistant professor (clinical) of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University


Medical Degree

Fundação Faculdade Federal de Ciências Médicas de Porto Alegre (Brazil, Porto Alegre)


Pediatrics, Porto Alegre, Brazil


Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship, PUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship, McGill University; Clinical and Research Fellow, Alan Ross Fellowship, Pediatric Critical Care, Montreal Children’s Hospital


Research interests

My research focus is on antibiotic use and infection control in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs).

The majority of PICU patients receive antibiotics for suspected bacterial infections that were not definitively confirmed by laboratory tests. Because the recommendations about how long to use antibiotics in such situations are not clear, PICU physicians tend to prolong antibiotic treatment unnecessarily. This overuse of antibiotics is associated with toxicity and infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

To reduce antibiotic overuse in PICUs, I am working on the development of a tool that will indicate when it is safe to stop antibiotics in PICU patients. This involves studying how PICU physicians make decisions about antibiotic use and the ability of clinical findings and diagnostic tests to predict infection cure in PICUs. Finally, I also study the determinants of hospital-acquired infections, usually caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and strategies that can be used to decrease their rates.


Antimicrobial stewardship; healthcare-associated infections; central line-associated bloodstream infections; critical care; epidemiology; child health; surveillance

Selected publications

Fontela PS, Rocher I, Platt RW, Pai M, Buckeridge DL, Frenette C, Dionne M, Quach C. Evaluation of the reporting validity of central line-associated bloodstream infection data to a provincial surveillance program. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 34(2):217-19, 2013.

Fontela PS, Quach C, Buckeridge D, Pai M, Platt RW. Effect of surveillance program participation requirements on the validity of benchmarks for central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units. PLoS ONE 7(5):e36582, 2012.

Fontela PS, Platt R, Rocher I, Frenette C, Fortin E, Moore D, Buckeridge D, Pai M, Quach C. Epidemiology of central line-associated bloodstream infections in Quebec intensive care units: a 6-year review. Am J Infect Control 40(3):221-6, 2012. [ Epub 2011 Aug 6.]

Fontela PS, Platt RW, Rocher I, Frenette C, Moore D, Fortin E, Buckeridge D, Pai M, Quach C. Surveillance Provinciale des Infections Nosocomiales (SPIN) program: implementation of a mandatory surveillance program for central line-associated bloodstream infections. Am J Infect Control 39(4):329-35, 2011.