The clinical implications of bacteremia among septic patients remain unclear, although a vast amount of data have been accumulated on sepsis. We aimed to compare the clinical characteristics and outcomes of severe sepsis patients with and without bacteremia. This secondary analysis of a multicenter, prospective cohort study included 59 intensive care units (ICUs) in Japan between January 2016 and March 2017. The study cohort comprised 1,184 adults (aged ≥ 16 years) who were admitted to an ICU with severe sepsis and diagnosed according to the Sepsis-2 criteria. Of 1,167 patients included in the analysis, 636 (54.5%) had bacteremia. Those with bacteremia had significantly higher rates of septic shock (66.4% vs. 58.9%, p = 0.01) and higher sepsis severity scores, including the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II and the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA). No significant difference in in-hospital mortality was seen between patients with and without bacteremia (25.6% vs. 21.0%, p = 0.08). In conclusion, half of severe sepsis patients in ICUs have bacteremia. Although patients with bacteremia had more severe state, between-group differences in patient-centered outcomes, such as in-hospital mortality, have not been fully elucidated.
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