Delivering antibiotics earlier helps lower in-hospital death rates among sepsis patients

Administering antibiotics earlier, along with completing a three-hour bundle of sepsis care, helped improve outcomes for patients as compared to administering intravenous fluids earlier, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers examined data from patients with sepsis and septic shock reported to the New York State Department of Health from April 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016. Care providers initiated a sepsis protocol for patients within six hours of their arrival in the emergency department. They completed all items in a three-hour sepsis bundle of care within 12 hours of the patients' arrival. In all, researchers studied data for 49,331 patients at 149 hospitals.

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Care providers completed the three-hour sepsis bundle within three hours for 82.5 percent of the patients. The median time to completion of the three-hour bundle was 1.30 hours; the median time to the administration of antibiotics was 0.95 hours; and the median time to completion of the administration of IV fluid was 2.56 hours.

Among patients who received the three-hour bundle of care within 12 hours, taking more time to initiate the bundle as well as administer antibiotics was associated with higher in-hospital mortality rates. However, taking more time to administer IV fluids did not impact patient death.

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