A multi-department study to determine if time to antibiotic administration is associated with mortality and in-hospital outcomes in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) population.

The team conducted a prospective evaluation of infants with suspected sepsis between September 2014 and February 2018; sepsis was defined as clinical concern prompting blood culture collection and antibiotic administration. Time to antibiotic administration was calculated from time of sepsis identification, defined as the order time of either blood culture or an antibiotic, to time of first antibiotic administration. We used linear models with generalized estimating equations to determine the association between time to antibiotic administration and mortality, ventilator-free and inotrope-free days, and NICU length of stay in patients with culture-proven sepsis.

Among infants with sepsis, delayed time to antibiotic administration was an independent risk factor for death and prolonged cardiovascular dysfunction. Further study is needed to define optimal timing of antimicrobial administration in high-risk NICU populations.

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