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To investigate whether empiric carbapenem therapy, compared to empiric non-carbapenem therapy, was associated with improved clinical outcomes among hospitalized, non-intensive care unit (ICU) patients with extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacterales infections.


We performed a retrospective cohort study of adult, non-ICU patients admitted with ESBL-producing Enterobacterales infections. Primary outcome was time to clinical stability from the first empiric antibiotic dose. Secondary outcomes were early clinical response and 30-day all-cause hospital readmission. We used multivariate regression methods to examine time to clinical stability.


Of the 142 patients, 59 (42%) received empiric carbapenems and 83 (58%) received empiric non-carbapenems, most commonly ceftriaxone (49/83, 59%). Median age was 59 years. The most common infection source was urinary (71%). The carbapenem group had a higher proportion of patients who received antibiotics within 6 months of admission (55% vs 28%, P < .01) and history of ESBL (57% vs 17%, P < .01). There were no significant differences in hours until clinical stability between the carbapenem and non-carbapenem groups (22 (IQR: 0, 85) vs 19 (IQR: 0, 69), P = .54). Early clinical response (88% vs 90%, P = .79) and 30-day all-cause hospital readmission (17% vs 8%, P = .13) were similar between groups.


Among hospitalized non-ICU patients with ESBL-producing Enterobacterales infection, we found no difference in time to clinical stability after the first empiric antibiotic dose between those receiving carbapenems and those who did not. Our data suggest that empiric carbapenem use may not be an important driver of clinical response in patients with less severe ESBL-producing Enterobacterales infection.


This article was originally published in Antimicrobial Stewardship & Healthcare Epidemiology, volume 4, issue 1, in 2021.


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