Delays to antibiotics in the emergency department and risk of mortality in children with sepsis

June 13, 2024
Is the timing of antibiotic administration associated with sepsis-attributable mortality in pediatric sepsis?

In a multicenter cohort study published in JAMA Network Open of 19515 pediatric patients with sepsis recognized within 1 hour of emergency department arrival, antibiotic administration beyond 330 minutes was associated with an increase in 3-day and 30-day sepsis-attributable mortality.

This retrospective cohort study used data from 51 US children’s hospitals in the Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes collaborative. Participants included patients aged 29 days to less than 18 years with sepsis recognized within 1 hour of emergency department arrival, from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2021. Piecewise regression was used to identify the inflection point for sepsis-attributable 3-day mortality, and logistic regression was used to evaluate odds of sepsis-attributable mortality after adjustment for potential confounders. Data analysis was performed from March 2022 to February 2024.

The primary outcome was sepsis-attributable 3-day mortality. Sepsis-attributable 30-day mortality was a secondary outcome.

A total of 19515 cases (median [IQR] age, 6 [2-12] years) were included. The median (IQR) time to antibiotic administration was 69 (47-116) minutes. The estimated time to antibiotic administration at which 3-day sepsis-attributable mortality increased was 330 minutes. Patients who received an antibiotic in less than 330 minutes (19164 patients) had sepsis-attributable 3-day mortality of 0.5% (93 patients) and 30-day mortality of 0.9% (163 patients). Patients who received antibiotics at 330 minutes or later (351 patients) had 3-day sepsis-attributable mortality of 1.2% (4 patients), 30-day mortality of 2.0% (7 patients), and increased adjusted odds of mortality at both 3 days (odds ratio, 3.44; 95% CI, 1.20-9.93; P=.02) and 30 days (odds ratio, 3.63; 95% CI, 1.59-8.30; P=.002) compared with those who received antibiotics within 330 minutes.

Read the full study here

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