Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date




The Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines recommends administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics within 1 hour of sepsis diagnosis; electronic order sets drive antibiotic selection with pre-populated regimens based on the suspected infectious indication. Given the low rate of cephalosporin cross-reactivity in patients with a PCN allergy, we modified our ED sepsis order set (Images 1 and 2) to include cephalosporin options in patients with reported mild-to-moderate PCN reaction histories. This was a single-center, retrospective analysis evaluating the impact of this change on antibiotic prescribing and associated outcomes.


An electronic medical record (EMR) report identified patients ≥18 years of age with a documented PCN allergy that received antibiotics via the ED sepsis order set from December 30, 2012 to September 28, 2013 (pre-intervention) and January 3, 2014 to July 18, 2015 (post-intervention). The primary objective was to compare antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) and length of therapy (LOT) between the pre- and post-groups. The secondary objectives included 30-day readmission and mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), incidence of C. difficile within 6 months and documented hypersensitivity reactions. Bivariate analyses, with chi-square, Mann–Whitney U, and Poisson means test, were used.


A total of 180 patients (90 pre- and 90 post-intervention) were included. Demographics were similar between groups, with the exception of congestive heart failure (CHF) which was more prevalent in the post-intervention group (P = 0.039). Aztreonam, vancomycin, aminoglycoside, and fluoroquinolone DOTs were significantly reduced (P < 0.001) while cephalosporin DOTs significantly increased (P < 0.001) in the post-intervention group. There were no statistical differences in antibiotic LOT, 30-day readmission and mortality, hospital LOS, or incidence of C. difficile infection. For those patients that received cephalosporin antibiotics, there were no hypersensitivity reactions documented in the EMR.


Stratifying ED sepsis order sets by PCN allergy history severity is a safe and effective intervention that reduces second-line antibiotics in PCN allergic patients presenting to the ED with suspected sepsis.



© The Authors 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Abstract presented at IDWeek in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2019.

Additional Files