Clinical Research Study| Volume 133, ISSUE 4, P485-491.e4, April 2020

Time to Antibiotics and the Outcome of Patients with Septic Shock: A Propensity Score Analysis

Published:October 14, 2019DOI:



      Current sepsis guidelines recommend administration of antibiotics within 1 hour of emergency department (ED) triage. However, the quality of the supporting evidence is moderate, and studies have shown mixed results regarding the association between antibiotic administration timing and outcomes in septic shock. We investigated to evaluate the association between antibiotic administration timing and in-hospital mortality in septic shock patients in the ED, using propensity score analysis.


      An observational study using a prospective, multicenter registry of septic shock, comprising data collected from 10 EDs, was conducted. Septic shock patients were included, and patients were divided into 4 groups by the interval from triage to first antibiotic administration: group 1 (≤1 hour; reference), 2 (1-2 hours), 3 (2-3 hours), and 4 (>3 hours). The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality. After inverse probability of treatment weighting, the outcomes of the groups were compared.


      A total of 2250 septic shock patients were included, and the median time to first antibiotic administration was 2.29 hours. The in-hospital mortality of groups 2 and 4 were significantly higher than those of group 1 (odds ratio [OR] 1.248; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.053-1.478; P = .011; OR 1.419; 95% CI, 1.203-1.675; P < .001, respectively), but those of group 3 was not (OR 1.186; 95% CI, 0.999-1.408; P = .052). Subgroup analyses of patients (n = 2043) with appropriate antibiotics presented similar results.


      In patients with septic shock, rapid administration of antibiotics was generally associated with a decrease in in-hospital mortality, but no “every hour delay” was seen.


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