Background: Rapid recognition and antibiotic treatment, preferably preceded by blood cultures (BCs), is a mainstay in sepsis therapy. The objective of this investigation was to determine if pre-hospital BCs were feasible and drawn with an acceptably low level of contamination and to investigate whether pre-hospital antibiotics were administered on correct indications. Methods: We performed a register-based study in a pre-hospital physician-manned mobile emergency care unit (MECU) operating in a mixed urban/rural area in Denmark. All patients who received pre-hospital antibiotics by the MECU from November 2013 to October 2018 were reviewed. Outcome measures were characterisation of microbial findings and subsequent in-hospital confirmation of the pre-hospital indication for antibiotics. Results: One-hundred-and-nineteen patients received antibiotics pre-hospitally. Six were excluded. One-hundred-and-thirteen patients were included in the study. BCs were drawn in 107 of the 113 patients (94.7% [88.8%-98.0%]). We found a true pathogen of sepsis in 29 (27.1% [19.0%-36.6%]) of these 107 patients. Nine (8.4% [3.9%-15.4%]) patients had contaminated pre-hospital BCs. Forty-nine of all patients (36.3% [27.4%-45.9%]) had causative pathogens in either their BCs or other samples confirming the pre-hospital tentative diagnosis. Eighty-two (72.6% [63.4%-80.5%]) patients received antibiotic therapy in-hospitally, while 27 (23.9% [16.4%-32.8%]) were assigned an in-hospital diagnosis not associated with infection. Four (3.5% [1.0%-8.8%]) patients died in hospital before a diagnosis was established. Conclusions: Pre-hospital administration of antibiotics preceded by BCs is feasible, although with somewhat high blood culture contamination rates. Antibiotics are administered on reasonable indications.
- severe infections