Suspected gonorrhea and chlamydia: Incidence and utilization of empiric antibiotics in a health system emergency department

Published:August 07, 2018DOI:



      In the ED, patients are treated empirically for suspected gonorrhea and/or chlamydia (GC). Limited studies have evaluated the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in conjunction with predictor variables. This study will allow providers to better identify patients with potential GC to streamline antibiotic treatment.


      The primary objective was to determine the incidence of positive assay in patients that underwent GC screening. The secondary objectives included the proportion of patients assayed that received empiric therapy and the predictive value of risk factors to identify positive assays.


      This retrospective cohort study included adult patients who presented to the health-system EDs and underwent GC screening. Subjects were excluded if they were victims of sexual assault, left AMA or eloped.


      A total of 490 assayed patients were included, of which 84 (17%) were found to be positive for GC assay. Of the 278 patients treated empirically, 74% had a negative assay. Of the entire sample (n = 490), risk factors found to predict a positive assay (p < 0.05) included male, women <25 years of age, concomitant bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or trichomonas, penile discharge, inconsistent condom use, previous/coexisting STDs, and uninsured.


      Compared to previous reports, this study found a higher incidence of positive GC assays for patients with suspected infection. This is the first study to evaluate GC testing in both men and women in the ED, and risk factors not previously reported by the CDC were identified.


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