, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 1930-1945
Date: 26 Sep 2012

Characteristics and determinants of outcome of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections in intensive care units: the EUROBACT International Cohort Study



The recent increase in drug-resistant micro-organisms complicates the management of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections (HA-BSIs). We investigated the epidemiology of HA-BSI and evaluated the impact of drug resistance on outcomes of critically ill patients, controlling for patient characteristics and infection management.


A prospective, multicentre non-representative cohort study was conducted in 162 intensive care units (ICUs) in 24 countries.


We included 1,156 patients [mean ± standard deviation (SD) age, 59.5 ± 17.7 years; 65 % males; mean ± SD Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II score, 50 ± 17] with HA-BSIs, of which 76 % were ICU-acquired. Median time to diagnosis was 14 [interquartile range (IQR), 7–26] days after hospital admission. Polymicrobial infections accounted for 12 % of cases. Among monomicrobial infections, 58.3 % were gram-negative, 32.8 % gram-positive, 7.8 % fungal and 1.2 % due to strict anaerobes. Overall, 629 (47.8 %) isolates were multidrug-resistant (MDR), including 270 (20.5 %) extensively resistant (XDR), and 5 (0.4 %) pan-drug-resistant (PDR). Micro-organism distribution and MDR occurrence varied significantly (p < 0.001) by country. The 28-day all-cause fatality rate was 36 %. In the multivariable model including micro-organism, patient and centre variables, independent predictors of 28-day mortality included MDR isolate [odds ratio (OR), 1.49; 95 % confidence interval (95 %CI), 1.07–2.06], uncontrolled infection source (OR, 5.86; 95 %CI, 2.5–13.9) and timing to adequate treatment (before day 6 since blood culture collection versus never, OR, 0.38; 95 %CI, 0.23–0.63; since day 6 versus never, OR, 0.20; 95 %CI, 0.08–0.47).


MDR and XDR bacteria (especially gram-negative) are common in HA-BSIs in critically ill patients and are associated with increased 28-day mortality. Intensified efforts to prevent HA-BSIs and to optimize their management through adequate source control and antibiotic therapy are needed to improve outcomes.

This manuscript was written on behalf of the EUROBACT Study Group, whose members are listed in the Appendix.
The EUROBACT study was designed by the infection section of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM). The study was endorsed by the European Critical Care Research Network (ECCRN) in May 2009 and received the Clinical Research Award with a 20,000 Euro research grant from the ECCRN in November 2011.