Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Delayed Second Dose Antibiotics for Patients Admitted From the Emergency Department With Sepsis: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes*

Leisman, Daniel BS1,2; Huang, Victor MD1; Zhou, Qiuping DO1; Gribben, Jeanie BS1; Bianculli, Andrea BS1; Bernshteyn, Michelle BS3; Ward, Mary Frances RN, MS, ANP4,5; Schneider, Sandra M. MD1,6

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000002377
Clinical Investigations

Objective: 1) Determine frequency and magnitude of delays in second antibiotic administration among patients admitted with sepsis; 2) Identify risk factors for these delays; and 3) Exploratory: determine association between delays and patient-centered outcomes (mortality and mechanical ventilation after second dose).

Design: Retrospective, consecutive sample sepsis cohort over 10 months.

Setting: Single, tertiary, academic medical center.

Patients: All patients admitted from the emergency department with sepsis or septic shock (defined: infection, ≥ 2 systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria, hypoperfusion/organ dysfunction) identified by a prospective quality initiative. Exclusions: less than 18 years old, not receiving initial antibiotics in the emergency department, death before antibiotic redosing, and patient refusing antibiotics.

Interventions: We determined first-to-second antibiotic time and delay frequency. We considered delay major for first-to-second dose time greater than or equal to 25% of the recommended interval. Factors of interest were demographics, recommended interval length, comorbidities, clinical presentation, location at second dose, initial resuscitative care, and antimicrobial activity mechanism.

Measurements and Main Results: Of 828 sepsis cases, 272 (33%) had delay greater than or equal to 25%. Delay frequency increased dose dependently with shorter recommended interval: 11 (4%) delays for 24-hour intervals (median time, 18.52 hr); 31 (26%) for 12-hour intervals (median, 10.58 hr); 117 (47%) for 8-hour intervals (median, 9.60 hr); and 113 (72%) for 6-hour intervals (median, 9.55 hr). In multivariable regression, interval length significantly predicted major delay (12 hr: odds ratio, 6.98; CI, 2.33–20.89; 8 hr: odds ratio, 23.70; CI, 8.13–69.11; 6 hr: odds ratio, 71.95; CI, 25.13–206.0). Additional independent risk factors were inpatient boarding in the emergency department (odds ratio, 2.67; CI, 1.74–4.09), initial 3-hour sepsis bundle compliance (odds ratio, 1.57; CI, 1.07–2.30), and older age (odds ratio, 1.16 per 10 yr, CI, 1.01–1.34). In the exploratory multivariable analysis, major delay was associated with increased hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.61; CI, 1.01–2.57) and mechanical ventilation (odds ratio, 2.44; CI, 1.27–4.69).

Conclusions: Major second dose delays were common, especially for patients given shorter half-life pharmacotherapies and who boarded in the emergency department. They were paradoxically more frequent for patients receiving compliant initial care. We observed association between major second dose delay and increased mortality, length of stay, and mechanical ventilation requirement.

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY.

2Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.

3State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.

4Department of Neurosurgery, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY.

5Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY.

6American College of Emergency Physicians, Irving, TX.

*See also p. 1097.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (

Dr. Schneider conceived the study. Mr. Leisman, Ms. Ward, and Dr. Schneider developed the overall study design. Mr. Leisman wrote the original study protocol for Institutional Review Board approval. Manual data collection was performed by Dr. Huang, Ms. Gribben, Ms. Bianculli, and Ms. Bernshteyn. Dr. Zhou and Ms. Ward adjudicated clinical records. Mr. Leisman monitored the data collection and quality control; designed the quantitative strategy and performed all analyses; and drafted the article, and all authors contributed to its revision. Ms. Ward and Dr. Schneider are co-senior authors on this article. Mr. Leisman takes responsibility for the article as a whole.

Ms. Ward’s institution received funding from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation grant to institution through a subcontract with Dartmouth College. She received article support from the CMMI grant to institution through a subcontract with Dartmouth College. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail:

Copyright © 2017 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.