January 1985

Reliability of Criteria for Predicting Persistent or Recurrent Sepsis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Arch Surg. 1985;120(1):17-20. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390250011002

• We reviewed the charts of 2,567 patients from 11 prospective clinical trials of antibiotic therapy for surgical infection to identify reliable predictors of sepsis eradication. Particular attention was paid to temperature, blood cell counts, renal and hepatic function tests, arterial gases, and clotting factors, both at the termination of parenteral antibiotic administration as well as at patient discharge from the hospital. On the discontinuation of antibiotic therapy, sepsis recurred in 19% of the patients who had a normal rectal temperature, in 3% of the patients if the rectal temperature and WBC count were normal, but in no patient when both the temperature and WBC count were normal and the differential blood smear contained less than 73% granulocytes and less than 3% immature forms. Rates for recurrent sepsis, once antibiotic therapy was discontinued for more than 48 hours, were 8%, 2%, and 0%, respectively, for the same criteria at hospital discharge.

(Arch Surg 1985;120:17-20)