Crit Care. 2013 Nov 7;17(6):R265. [Epub ahead of print]

Initial use of one or two antibiotics for critically ill patients with community-acquired pneumonia: impact on survival and bacterial resistance.

INTRODUCTION:Several guidelines recommend initial empirical treatment with two antibiotics instead of one to decrease mortality in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) requiring intensive-care-unit (ICU) admission. We compared the impact on 60-day mortality of using one or two antibiotics. We also compared the rates of nosocomial pneumonia and multidrug-resistant bacteria.

METHODS:This is an observational cohort study of 956 immunocompetent patients with CAP admitted to ICUs in France and entered into a prospective database between 1997 and 2010.Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were excluded. Multivariate analysis adjusted for disease severity, gender, and co-morbidities was used to compare the impact on 60-day mortality of receiving adequate initial antibiotics and of receiving one versus two initial antibiotics.

RESULTS:Initial adequate antibiotic therapy was significantly associated with better survival (subdistribution hazard ratio (sHR), 0.63; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.42 to 0.94; P = 0.02); this effect was strongest in patients with Streptococcus pneumonia CAP (sHR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0.005 to 0.46; p = 0.001) or septic shock (sHR: 0.62; 95% CI 0.38 to 1.00; p = 0.05). Dual therapy was associated with a higher frequency of initial adequate antibiotic therapy. However, no difference in 60-day mortality was found between monotherapy (β-lactam) and either of the two dual-therapy groups (β-lactam plus macrolide or fluoroquinolone). The rates of nosocomial pneumonia and multidrug-resistant bacteria were not significantly different across these three groups.

CONCLUSIONS:Initial adequate antibiotic therapy markedly decreased 60-day mortality. Dual therapy improved the likelihood of initial adequate therapy but did not predict decreased 60-day mortality. Dual therapy did not increase the risk of nosocomial pneumonia or multidrug-resistant bacteria.