Crit Care Med. 2021 Feb 15. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004863. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Rapid delivery of antibiotics is a cornerstone of sepsis therapy, although time targets for specific components of antibiotic delivery are unknown. We quantified time intervals comprising the task of antibiotic delivery and evaluated the association between interval delays and hospital mortality among patients treated in the emergency department for suspected sepsis.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort.
SETTING: Twelve hospitals in Southeastern United States from 2014 to 2017.
PATIENTS: Twenty-four thousand ninety-three encounters among 20,026 adults with suspected sepsis in 12 emergency departments.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We divided antibiotic administration into two intervals: time from emergency department triage to antibiotic order (recognition delay) and time from antibiotic order to infusion (administration delay). We used generalized linear mixed models to evaluate associations between these intervals and hospital mortality. Median time from emergency department triage to antibiotic administration was 3.4 hours (interquartile range, 2.0-6.0 hr), separated into a median recognition delay (time from emergency department triage to antibiotic order) of 2.7 hours(interquartile range, 1.5-4.7 hr) and median administration delay (time from antibiotic order to infusion) of 0.6 hours (0.3-1.2 hr). Adjusting for other risk factors, both recognition delay and administration delay were associated with mortality, but pairwise comparison with a no-delay reference group was not significant for up to 6 hours of recognition delay or up to 1.5 hours of administration delay.
CONCLUSIONS: Both recognition delays and administration delays were associated with increased hospital mortality, but only for longer delays. These results suggest that both metrics may be important to measure and improve for patients with suspected sepsis but do not support targets less than 1 hour.