Assessing mortality outcomes of beta-lactam-allergic patients presenting with sepsis



      To determine the impact of reported beta-lactam allergies on in-hospital mortality and other clinical outcomes in patients who presented with severe sepsis or septic shock.


      This single-center, retrospective cohort study was performed at a 35-bed emergency department in central Kentucky. Patients presenting with sepsis, aged 18 years or older, were identified between October 2016 and June 2017.


      438 patients with severe sepsis and/or septic shock were identified. Rates of the combined endpoint of in-hospital mortality or transfer to hospice were similar in patients with a beta-lactam allergy (7.2%) versus those with no reported beta-lactam allergy (10.4%) (p = 0.41). Time to initiation of antibiotic therapy was slightly longer in the beta-lactam allergic group (2.2 h) versus those with no reported beta-lactam allergy (2.15 h), but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.993). Patients were 20.9% more likely to receive an appropriate empiric antibiotic, based off of retrospective culture review, if they did not report a beta-lactam allergy (p = 0.009). This led to a delay in effective therapy of 1.59 h in the reported beta-lactam allergy arm (p = 0.037).


      Adequate documentation of beta-lactam allergies is vital to ensure timely and appropriate treatment in patients presenting with severe sepsis and septic shock. Choosing alternative treatment options results in increased time to effective antibiotics, reduced likelihood of covering cultures with first antibiotic, and increased total hospital and variable direct cost.
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