In this study, the therapeutic efficacy of third-generation cephalosporins (3GCs) was compared with that of broader-spectrum β-lactams (BSBLs) [fourth-generation cephalosporins (4GCs) and carbapenems] as empirical therapy in adults with community-onset monomicrobial Enterobacteriaceae bacteraemia. Compared with those in the 3GC group (n = 477), a significantly higher proportion of patients in the BSBL group (n = 141) had initial presentation with severe sepsis or septic shock, critical illness (Pitt bacteraemia score ≥4) at bacteraemia onset and fatal co-morbidities (McCabe classification). For propensity score matching, 318 of the 477 patients in the 3GC group were matched with 106 patients in the BSBL group with the closest propensity scores on the basis of five independent predictors of 28-day mortality. After appropriate matching, no significant differences were observed in major baseline characteristics between the 3GC and BSBL groups in terms of causative micro-organism, bacteraemia severity, major source of bacteraemia, major co-morbidities and severity of co-morbidity. Consequently, the early clinical failure rate (12.9% vs. 12.3%; P = 0.87), bacteraemia severity (Pitt bacteraemia score ≥4; 4.6% vs. 8.2%; P = 0.17) at Day 3, and 3-day (3.8% vs. 7.5%; P = 0.11) and 28-day (13.2% vs. 17.0%; P = 0.33) crude mortality rates between the two groups were similar. These data suggest that the efficacy of 3GCs is similar to that of 4GCs or carbapenems when used as empirical antimicrobial therapy for community-onset Enterobacteriaceae bacteraemia.
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