The DISPARITY-II study: delays to antibiotic administration in women with severe sepsis or septic shock

Tracy E Madsen, Anthony M Napoli
Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine 2014, 21 (12): 1499-502

BACKGROUND: Early antibiotics reduce mortality in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. Recent work demonstrated that women experience greater delays to antibiotic administration, but it is unknown if this relationship remains after adjusting for factors such as source of infection.

OBJECTIVES: The objective was to investigate whether gender and/or source of infection are associated with delays to antibiotics in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.

METHODS: This was a retrospective, observational study in an urban academic emergency department and national Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) database study site. Consecutive patients age 18 years and older admitted to intensive care with severe sepsis or septic shock and entered into the SSC database from October 2005 to March 2012 were included. Two trained research assistants, blinded to the primary outcome, used a standardized abstraction form to obtain patient demographic and clinical data, including the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores and comorbidities. Time to first antibiotic and presumed source of infection were extracted from the SSC database. Univariate analyses were performed with Pearson chi-square tests and t-tests. Linear regression was performed with time to first antibiotic as the primary outcome. Covariates, chosen a priori by study authors, included age, race, ethnicity, source of infection, SOFA score, and lactate.

RESULTS: A total of 771 patients were included. Women were 45.3% of the sample, the mean age was 66 years (95% confidence interval [CI] = 65.1 to 67.5 years), 19.4% were nonwhite, and 8% were Hispanic. Mean time to first antibiotic was 153 minutes (95% CI = 143 to 163 minutes) for men and 184 minutes (95% CI = 171 to 197 minutes) for women (p < 0.001). The urinary tract was source of infection for 35.2% of women (95% CI = 30.2% to 40.3%) versus 23.7% (95% CI = 19.6% to 27.8%) of men. Pneumonia was present in 46.9% of men (95% CI = 42.1% to 51.7%) versus 35.8% (95% CI = 30.8% to 40.8%) of women. The mean time to antibiotics in women was longer than in men (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.07 to 1.30), even after adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, presumed source of infection, SOFA score, and lactate (p = 0.001). Those with pneumonia compared to other infections received antibiotics faster (aOR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.66 to 0.81). There was no significant association between other sources of infection and time to antibiotics in either univariate or multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Women experience longer delays to initial antibiotics among patients with severe sepsis or septic shock, even after adjusting for infectious source. Pneumonia was associated with shorter times to antibiotic administration. Future research is necessary to investigate contributors to delayed antibiotic administration in women.

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