Time to Antibiotic Administration: Sepsis Alerts Called in Emergency Department Versus in the Field via Emergency Medical Services

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Introduction The Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Early Management Bundle (SEP-1) identifies patients with “severe sepsis” and mandates antibiotics within a specific time window. Rapid time to administration of antibiotics may improve patient outcomes. The goal of this investigation was to compare time to antibiotic administration when sepsis alerts are called in the emergency department (ED) with those called in the field by emergency medical services (EMS). Methods This was a multi-center, retrospective review of patients designated as sepsis alerts in ED or via EMS in the field, presenting to four community emergency departments over a six-month period. Results 507 patients were included, 419 in the ED alert group and 88 in the field alert group. Mean time to antibiotic administration was significantly faster in the field alert group when compared to the ED alert group (48.5 min vs 64.5 min, p < 0.001). Patients were more likely to receive antibiotics within 60 min of ED arrival in the field alert group (59.1% vs 44%, p = 0.01). Secondary outcomes including mortality, hospital length of stay, intensive care unit length of stay, sepsis diagnosis on admission, Clostridioides difficile infection rates, fluid bolus utilization, anti-MRSA antibiotic utilization rates, and anti-Pseudomonal antibiotic utilization rates were not found to be significantly different. Conclusions Sepsis alerts called in the field via EMS may decrease time to antibiotics and increase the likelihood of antibiotic administration occurring within 60 min of arrival when compared to those called in the ED.




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