sepsis/diagnosis; sepsis/therapy; Emergency Medical Services; prehospital; antibiotics; antibiotic prophylaxis; retrospective studies; emergency treatment; time factors


Emergency Medicine


Background: Severe sepsis is a major cause of mortality in patients evaluated in the Emergency Department (ED). Early initiation of antibiotic therapy and IV fluids in the ED is associated with improved outcomes. We investigated whether early administration of antibiotics in the prehospital setting improves outcomes in these patients with sepsis.

Methods: This is a retrospective study comparing outcomes of patients meeting sepsis criteria in the field by EMS, who were treated with IV fluids and antibiotics. Their outcomes were compared with controls where fluids were administered prehospital and antibiotics were initiated in the ED. We compared morbidity and mortality between these groups.

Results: Early antibiotics and fluids were demonstrated to show significant improvement in outcomes in the patients meeting sepsis criteria treated in the pre-hospital setting. The average age for sepsis patients receiving antibiotics in the prehospital setting was statistically higher than that for patients in the historical control group, 73.23 years and 67.67, respectively (p < 0.036), and there was no statistically significant difference of Charlson Comorbidity Index between the groups (p two-tail = 0.28). Average intensive care unit length of stay was 2.51 days in the in the prehospital group and 5.18 days in the historical controls, and the prehospital group received fewer blood products than the historical controls (p = 0.0003).

Conclusions: Early IV administration of antibiotics in the field significantly improves outcome in EMS patients who meet sepsis criteria based on a modified qSOFA score.