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Prognostic differences in sepsis caused by gram-negative bacteria and gram-positive bacteria: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: Bacteria are the main pathogens that cause sepsis. The pathogenic mechanisms of sepsis caused by gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria are completely different, and their prognostic differences in sepsis remain unclear.

METHODS: The PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Embase databases were searched for Chinese and English studies (January 2003 to September 2023). Observational studies involving gram-negative (G (-))/gram-positive (G (+)) bacterial infection and the prognosis of sepsis were included. The stability of the results was evaluated by sensitivity analysis. Funnel plots and Egger tests were used to check whether there was publication bias. A meta-regression analysis was conducted on the results with high heterogeneity to identify the source of heterogeneity. A total of 6949 articles were retrieved from the database, and 45 studies involving 5586 subjects were included after screening according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Twenty-seven high-quality studies and 18 moderate-quality studies were identified according to the Newcastle‒Ottawa Scale score. There was no significant difference in the survival rate of sepsis caused by G (-) bacteria and G (+) bacteria (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.70-1.28). Subgroup analysis according to survival follow-up time showed no significant difference. The serum concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) (SMD = 0.39, 95% CI 0.02-0.76), procalcitonin (SMD = 1.95, 95% CI 1.32-2.59) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) (MD = 0.31, 95% CI 0.25-0.38) in the G (-) bacterial infection group were significantly higher than those in the G (+) bacterial infection group, but there was no significant difference in IL-6 (SMD = 1.33, 95% CI - 0.18-2.84) and WBC count (MD = - 0.15, 95% CI - 0.96-00.66). There were no significant differences between G (-) and G (+) bacteria in D dimer level, activated partial thromboplastin time, thrombin time, international normalized ratio, platelet count, length of stay or length of ICU stay. Sensitivity analysis of the above results indicated that the results were stable.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of severe sepsis and the concentrations of inflammatory factors (CRP, PCT, TNF-α) in sepsis caused by G (-) bacteria were higher than those caused by G (+) bacteria. The two groups had no significant difference in survival rate, coagulation function, or hospital stay. The study was registered with PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42023465051).

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