Risk factors and outcomes for ineffective empiric treatment of sepsis caused by gram-negative pathogens: Stratification by onset of infection


ABSTRACT Sepsis and septic shock remain serious consequences of infections, with reported mortality rates in excess of 40 percent. Timely antibiotic therapy in cases of sepsis and septic shock is recognized as an important determinant of outcome. However, the administration of ineffective empirical treatment (IET) (an initial antibiotic regimen that is not active against the identified pathogen[s] based on in vitro susceptibility testing results) is associated with excess mortality compared to effective empirical treatment (EET). We examined all hospitalized patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital with a sterile site (blood or pleural, abdominal, cerebrospinal, synovial, and pericardial fluid) culture positive for Gram-negative (GN) bacteria combined with a primary or secondary ICD-9-CM code for severe sepsis (995.92) or septic shock (785.52) between January 2010 and October 2015. Variables significantly associated with early-onset (&lt;48 h of hospitalization) IET of GN sterile site sepsis and septic shock included age, recent hospitalization, and prior intravenous antibiotics. Late-onset IET was associated with increasing numbers of hospitalization days before infection onset and prior intravenous antibiotic administration. For patients with early-onset infection, we found no difference in rates of survival between patients receiving IET and EET. However, patients in the late-onset infection group receiving IET had a statistically lower rate of survival than those receiving EET. These data suggest that risk factors and outcomes for IET can vary based on the time of onset of infection. Our results also highlight the importance of prior intravenous antibiotic exposure as a risk factor for IET in infections by GN bacteria regardless of the time of onset of infection. </jats:p

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