November 1995

Clinical Significance of Antibiotic Endotoxin-Releasing Properties in Trauma Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle (Drs Mock, Jurkovich, and Maier), and Loyola University, Maywood, Ill (Dr Dries).

Arch Surg. 1995;130(11):1234-1241. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430110092017

Objective:  To test the hypothesis that antibiotics leading to greater endotoxin release are associated with greater mortality in septic trauma patients.

Design:  Post hoc analysis of data from a previously conducted prospective, randomized, multicenter study designed to evaluate the efficacy of interferon gamma in preventing infection and death in trauma patients.

Setting:  Nine level I trauma centers.

Patients:  Severely injured trauma patients at high risk for sepsis. Eighty percent (N=334) of the enrolled patients developed some manifestation of gram-negative sepsis, defined by the administration of gram-negative specific antibiotics.

Main Outcome Measures:  The in-hospital mortality rate of patients who received penicillin-binding protein 3/tumor necrosis factor (PBP3/TNF)–specific antibiotics associated with the greatest degree of endotoxin release and TNF production (PBP3/TNF group, n=78: aztreonam. ceftazidime, and cefotaxime sodium) was compared with that of patients not receiving these agents (non-PBP3/TNF group, n=256).

Results:  Mortality in the PBP3/TNF group (17%) was higher than in the non-PBP3/TNF group (8%, P=.02). The two groups were similar in their mean (±SD) Injury Severity Scores (34±9), ages (31 ± 12 years), and initial degree of bacterial contamination.

Conclusions:  Antibiotics that are associated with greater release of endotoxin and production of TNF are also associated with greater mortality in septic trauma patients. Decisions regarding antibiotic administration may need to consider the endotoxin-releasing properties of antibiotics in addition to their antibacterial sensitivity spectrum. Prospective studies of the effect of endotoxin-releasing properties of antibiotics on mortality are warranted.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:1234-1241)