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De-escalation of empirical therapy is associated with lower mortality in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock

J. Garnacho-Montero| A. Gutiérrez-Pizarraya| A. Escoresca-Ortega| Y. Corcia-Palomo| Esperanza Fernández-Delgado| I. Herrera-Melero| C. Ortiz-Leyba| J. A. Márquez-Vácaro
Original Article
Volume 40, Issue 1 / January , 2014

Pages 32 - 40

Abstract

Purposes

We set out to assess the safety and the impact on in-hospital and 90-day mortality of antibiotic de-escalation in patients admitted to the ICU with severe sepsis or septic shock.

Methods

We carried out a prospective observational study enrolling patients admitted to the ICU with severe sepsis or septic shock. De-escalation was defined as discontinuation of an antimicrobial agent or change of antibiotic to one with a narrower spectrum once culture results were available. To control for confounding variables, we performed a conventional regression analysis and a propensity score (PS) adjusted-multivariable analysis.

Results

A total of 712 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock at ICU admission were treated empirically with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Of these, 628 were evaluated (84 died before cultures were available). De-escalation was applied in 219 patients (34.9 %). By multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with in-hospital mortality were septic shock, SOFA score the day of culture results, and inadequate empirical antimicrobial therapy, whereas de-escalation therapy was a protective factor [Odds-Ratio (OR) 0.58; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.36–0.93). Analysis of the 403 patients with adequate empirical therapy revealed that the factor associated with mortality was SOFA score on the day of culture results, whereas de-escalation therapy was a protective factor (OR 0.54; 95 % CI 0.33–0.89). The PS-adjusted logistic regression models confirmed that de-escalation therapy was a protective factor in both analyses. De-escalation therapy was also a protective factor for 90-day mortality.

Conclusions

De-escalation therapy for severe sepsis and septic shock is a safe strategy associated with a lower mortality. Efforts to increase the frequency of this strategy are fully justified.

Keywords

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