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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2003 Dec;24(12):912-5.

Absence of excess mortality in critically ill patients with nosocomial Escherichia coli bacteremia.

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  • 1Department of Intensive Care, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.



To evaluate excess mortality in critically ill patients with Escherichia coli bacteremia after adjustment for severity of illness.


Retrospective (1992-2000), pairwise-matched (1:2), risk-adjusted cohort study.


Fifty-four-bed ICU in a university hospital including a medical and surgical ICU, a unit for care after cardiac surgery, and a burns unit.


ICU patients with nosocomial E. coli bacteremia (defined as cases; n = 64) and control-patients without nosocomial bloodstream infection (n = 128).


Case-patients were matched with control-patients on the basis of the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II system: an equal APACHE II score (+/- 2 points) and diagnostic category. In addition, control-patients were required to have an ICU stay at least as long as that of the respective case-patients prior to onset of the bacteremia.


The overall rate of appropriate antibiotic therapy in patients with E. coli bacteremia was high (93%) and such therapy was initiated soon after onset of the bacteremia (0.6 +/- 1.0 day). ICU patients with E. coli bacteremia had more acute renal failure. No differences were noted between case-patients and control-patients in incidence of acute respiratory failure, hemodynamic instability, or age. No differences were observed in length of mechanical ventilation or length of ICU stay. In-hospital mortality rates for cases and controls were not different (43.8% and 45.3%, respectively; P = .959).


After adjustment for disease severity and acute illness and in the presence of adequate antibiotic therapy, no excess mortality was found in ICU patients with E. coli bacteremia.

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