Of the 183 patients screened, 93 met the inclusion criteria and were randomized in a 1:1 ratio. MRSA infection was microbiologically confirmed. Clinical cure rate in VR patients was significantly greater at day 14 compared with the V group (53.7% vs. 31.0%, P=0.047) based on a modified intention-to-treat model. The overall mortality at day 28 did not significantly differ between the groups (22.0% vs. 38.1%, P=0.15), although the 60-day mortality was lower in the VR group (26.8% vs. 50.0%, P=0.042). Mortality from MRSA pneumonia had a trend toward a decrease in the VR group (14.7% vs. 28.6%, P=0.18).
The trial was limited because it was a single-site study and lacked statistical power to assess certain outcomes. Additionally, treatment protocols were not compared with other antimicrobial therapies.
Bottom line: Vancomycin plus rifampicin improves MRSA pneumonia outcomes in ICU patients.
Citation: Jung YJ, Koh Y, Hong SB, et al. Effect of vancomycin plus rifampicin in the treatment of nosocomial MRSA pneumonia. Crit Care Med. 2010;38(1):175-180.
Severe Sepsis Syndromes Are Not Always Caused by Bacteremia
Clinical question: What are the common causes of clinical sepsis?
Background: When sepsis is defined by systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria, the etiology is not always infectious. Rapid initiation of antimicrobial therapy for infectious SIRS is a priority, but it could result in treating a significant number of patients who are not bacteremic.
Study design: Prospective secondary analysis of a registry of patients created to evaluate an institutional standard-of-care protocol.
Setting: Urban, 850-bed, tertiary-care teaching institution in North Carolina.
Synopsis: ED cases meeting the criteria for severe sepsis underwent a secondary review that looked at the cause of the sepsis. Only 45% of patients identified as having severe sepsis were blood-culture-positive during that episode of care. The culture-positive group was more likely to have central lines, malignancies, or reside in a nursing home.
Of the subgroup of culture-negative patients, 52% had another infectious etiology, most commonly pneumonia. Other “noninfectious mimics,” including inflammatory colitis, myocardial infarction, and pulmonary embolism, were noted in 32% of patients in the subgroup, and the cause was not identified in 16% of the patients.
In-hospital mortality was higher in the culture-positive group than in the culture-negative group (25% vs. 4%, P=0.05). There was no evidence of harm in patients with culture-negative sepsis treated for a systemic infection.
Bottom line: Many patients with a clinical picture of severe sepsis will not have positive blood cultures or an infectious etiology.
Citation: Heffner AC, Horton JM, Marchick MR, Jones AE. Etiology of illness in patients with severe sepsis admitted to the hospital from the emergency department. Clin Infect Dis. 2010;50(6):814-820.
Comanagement of Surgical Inpatients by Hospitalists Is Rapidly Expanding
Clinical question: What is the prevalence and nature of comanagement of surgical patients by medicine physicians?
Background: Comanagement of surgical patients is a common clinical role for hospitalists, but the relationship is not well characterized in the literature in terms of numbers of patients or types of physicians involved in this practice.
Study design: Retrospective cohort.
Setting: Cross-section of hospitals from a Medicare database.
Synopsis: During the study period, 35.2% of patients were comanaged by a medicine physician—23.7% by a generalist and 14% by a subspecialist. Cardiothoracic surgery patients were more likely to be comanaged by a subspecialist, whereas all other patients were more likely to be comanaged by a generalist.
Although subspecialist comanagement actually declined during the study period, overall comanagement increased from 33.3% in 1996 to 40.8% in 2006. This increase is entirely attributable to the increase in comanagement by hospitalists. Most of this growth occurred with orthopedic patients.