Background: Extended-spectrum ß-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-EC) is an important cause of invasive infections. Alternatives to carbapenems--considered the drugs of choice--are needed because of the emergence of carbapenemase-producing enterobacteria. The efficacy of ß-lactam/ß-lactam inhibitors (BLBLI) in such infections is controversial.
Methods: The authors performed a post hoc analysis of patients with bloodstream infections due to ESBL-EC from 6 published prospective cohorts. Mortality and length of hospital stay in patients treated with an active BLBLI (amoxicillin-clavulanic acid [AMC] and piperacillin-tazobactam [PTZ]) or carbapenem were compared in 2 cohorts: the empirical therapy cohort (ETC) and the definitive therapy cohort (DTC). Confounding was controlled by multivariate analysis; for patients in the ETC, a propensity score for receiving carbapenem was also used.
Results: The ETC included 103 patients (BLBLI, 72; carbapenem, 31), and the DTC included 174 (BLBLI, 54; carbapenem, 120). Mortality rates at day 30 for those treated with BLBLI versus carbapenems were 9.7% versus 19.4% for the ETC and 9.3% versus 16.7% for the DTC, respectively (P > .2, log-rank test). After adjustment for confounders, no association was found between either empirical therapy with BLBLI (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], .29-4.40; P = .84) or definitive therapy (adjusted HR, 0.76; 95% CI, .28-2.07; P = .5) and increased mortality. Furthermore, BLBLI therapy, with respect to carbapenem, was not found to influence length of hospital stay.
Conclusions: These results suggest that AMC and PTZ are suitable alternatives to carbapenems for treating patients with bloodstream infections due to ESBL-EC if active in vitro and would be particularly useful as definitive therapy.