Giving immediate antibiotics reduces deaths from sepsis

Giving immediate antibiotics (defined as within one hour) when people present to emergency departments with suspected sepsis reduces their risk of dying by a third compared with later administration. 

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This meta-analysis of observational data from 23,596 people in emergency department settings confirmed that giving antibiotics within one hour was linked to a lower risk of in-hospital mortality compared with giving antibiotics later.

This adds weight to recommendations from NICE and other organisations that antibiotics should be administered straight away in people with suspected sepsis. However, in practice up to a third of people in the UK do not receive antibiotics within the hour.

NHS England and the UK Sepsis Trust have recently launched a campaign to encourage all healthcare professionals to act quickly when they recognise sepsis.

Full reference: Johnston AN, Park J, Doi SA, et al. Effect of immediate administration of antibiotics in patients with sepsis in tertiary care: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Therapeutics.  2017;39(1):190-202.e6.

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