All patients (n = 1,745) with nosocomial bloodstream infection identified between 1986 and 1991 at a single 900-bed tertiary care hospital were studied to identify microbiological factors independently associated with mortality due to the infection. Patients were identified by prospective, case-based surveillance and positive blood cultures. Mortality rates were examined for secular trends. Prognostic factors were determined with use of univariate and multivariate analyses, and both derivation and validation sets were used. A total of 1,745 patients developed nosocomial bloodstream infection. The 28-day crude mortality was 22%, and crude in-hospital mortality was 35%. Factors independently (all P < .05) associated with increased 28-day mortality rates were older age, longer length of hospital stay before bloodstream infection, and a diagnosis of cancer or disease of the digestive system. After adjustment for major confounders, Candida species were the only organisms independently influencing the outcome of nosocomial bloodstream infection (odds ratio [OR] for mortality = 1.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22-2.76; P = .0035). The two additional microbiological factors independently associated with increased mortality were pneumonia as a source of secondary infection (OR = 2.74; 95% CI, 1.87-4.00; P < .0001) and polymicrobial infection (OR = 1.68; 95% CI, 1.22-2.32; P = .0014). Our data suggest that microbiological factors independently affect the outcome of nosocomial bloodstream infection.