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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006 Jan;12(1):13-21.

Outcome of inappropriate empirical antibiotic therapy in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: analytical strategy using propensity scores.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) who received either inappropriate or appropriate empirical therapy were compared by using two risk stratification models: (1) a cohort study using a propensity score to adjust for confounding by empirical treatment assignment; and (2) a propensity-matched case-control study. Inappropriate empirical therapy was modelled on the basis of patient characteristics, and included in the multivariate model to adjust for confounding. For case-matching analysis, patients with inappropriate empirical therapy (cases) were matched to those with appropriate empirical therapy (controls) on the basis of the propensity score (within 0.03 on a scale of 0-1). In total, 238 patients with SAB were enrolled in the cohort study. Characteristics associated with inappropriate empirical therapy were methicillin resistance, underlying haematological malignancy, no history of colonisation with methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and a long hospital stay before SAB. These variables were included in the propensity score, which had an area under the receiver operating characteristics curve of 85%. In the cohort study, SAB-related mortality was 39% (45/117) for inappropriate empirical therapy vs. 28% (34/121) for appropriate empirical therapy (odds ratio (OR) 1.60; 95% CI 0.93-2.76). After adjustment for independent predictors for mortality and the propensity score, inappropriate empirical therapy was not associated with mortality (adjusted OR 1.39; 95% CI 0.62-3.15). In the matched case-control study (50 pairs), SAB-related mortality was 32% (16/50) for inappropriate empirical therapy and 28% (14/50) for appropriate empirical therapy (McNemar's test; p 0.85; OR 1.15; 95% CI 0.51-2.64). In conclusion, inappropriate empirical therapy resulted in only a slight tendency towards increased mortality in patients with SAB.

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