Acute kidney injury and single-dose administration of aminoglycoside in the Emergency Department: a comparison through propensity score matching


Purpose: According to the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, aminoglycosides (AG) can be administered together with a β-lactam in patients with septic shock. Some authors propose administering a single dose of an AG combined with a β-lactam antibiotic in septic patients to extend the spectrum of antibiotic therapy. The aim of this study has been to investigate whether a single shot of AG when septic patients present at the Emergency Department (ED) is associated with acute kidney injury (AKI).

Methods: We retrospectively enrolled patients based on a 3-year internal registry of septic patients visited in the Emergency Department (ED) of Pordenone Hospital. We compared the patients treated with a single dose of gentamicin (in addition to the β-lactam) and those who had not been treated to verify AKI incidence.

Results: 355 patients were enrolled. The median age was 71 years (IQR 60-78). Less than 1% of the patients had a chronic renal disease. The most frequent infection source was the urinary tract (31%), followed by intra-abdominal and lower respiratory tract infections (15% for both). 131 patients received gentamicin. Unmatched data showed a significant difference between the two groups in AKI (79/131, 60.3% versus 102/224, 45.5%; p=0.010) and in infectious disease specialist’s consultation (77/131, 59% versus 93/224, 41.5%; p=0.002). However, after propensity score matching, no significant difference was found.

Conclusion: Our experience shows that a single-shot administration of gentamicin upon admission to the ED does not determine an increased incidence of AKI in septic patients.

Keywords: aminoglycosides, acute kidney injury, gentamicin, safety, sepsis


Historically, sepsis has a high mortality, up to 50-75% [1]. The development of new antibiotic molecules has led to a significant reduction, but it still ranges from 30-50% even if treated according to recent guidelines [2]. Furthermore, pathogenic microorganisms have continued to develop resistance under selective antibiotic pressure, making the therapies increasingly complex, particularly in empirical approaches.

The choice of appropriate antibiotic treatment can reduce mortality [3]. For this reason, the real benefit of empirical combination therapy was assessed, particularly in critically ill patients. According to the Surviving Sepsis campaign [4], aminoglycosides (AG) can be administered together with a β-lactam in patients with septic shock (defined by the Sepsis-3 criteria). The spectrum of antibiotics is broadened in particular towards Enterobacteriaceae ESBL and Pseudomonas aeruginosa; the bacteria are attacked in two different ways, thus accelerating the elimination of pathogens [4, 5] in a possible synergistic effect. For patients presenting symptoms compatible with sepsis, some authors propose a single dose or short course (48-72 hours) of an AG in combination with a β-lactam antibiotic (that instead is taken for several days) on admission to the Emergency Department (ED), immediately after blood cultures are taken [6]. The AG dosage is based on body weight (5 to 7 mg/kg for gentamicin), and it is administered together with the first dose of β-lactam, regardless of renal function.

A study by David et al. showed that the risk of AKI following a single dose or a short course of AG in the empirical treatment of bacteremia increases compared to a regimen without AG [7]. The aim of this study has been to investigate whether a single shot of AG in the ED is associated with AKI in sepsis patients.


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Economic impact of kidney patients with sepsis in hospital setting


Introduction: Over the last decades, sepsis has become a real medical emergency, with a high mortality rate and often requiring admission to an intensive care unit. An increasing number of CKD patients contracts sepsis due to several clinical risk factors (use of catheters, immunosuppressive therapy, comorbidity, etc.) and is treated in Nephrology wards, generating additional costs that are not covered by hospital Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) reimbursement. The aim of the study is to evaluate the costs of sepsis in one Nephrology Unit and to detect the mortality rate of CKD patients with sepsis.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study on a cohort of CKD patients admitted into one Nephrology Unit in 2017. CKD inpatients were divided in two groups: patients with sepsis (SP) and without (control group). Socio-demographic, clinical and therapeutic data, as well as routine biochemistry, were collected through a “sepsis form”. SP were identified thanks to hospital discharge records (HDR). The hospital-related costs of a SP were obtained by summing up: (1) the average cost of an inpatient day of care for the average length of stay in the Nephrology Unit; (2) the average cost of the antimicrobial therapy, as recorded on the clinical folder.

Results: Among the 408 CKD inpatients, 61 were septic. The overall average cost of a SP was 23.087,57 €; the average cost of the hospital stay and of the antimicrobial therapy was 19.364,98 € and 3.722,60 € respectively. The average length of stay in the Nephrology Unit was 16.7 days. The in-hospital mortality rate was 41.7%, with a 312% additional mortality rate.

Conclusions: SP had an overall average cost three times higher than CKD inpatients without sepsis (9.290,79 €). This additional cost was due to a longer hospital stay (8.7 days more on average) and a higher cost of antimicrobial therapy per case (€ 221,24). A national multi-centre study is needed to confirm our data and to promote an adjustment of reimbursement tariff for DRG-sepsis, which is now applicable only to an ICU setting. 

Keywords: sepsis, costs, kidney disease, hospital discharge register

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La sepsi rappresenta una condizione clinica frequente di difficile gestione.  È associata a una mortalità molto elevata quando si accompagna a insufficienza d’organo (20-25%) o a uno stato di shock settico (40-70%), ed è pertanto definita un’emergenza medica [1].

La Consensus Conference della Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) nel 2003, ha elaborato le definizioni di sepsi, sepsi grave e shock settico con lo scopo di rendere omogenea la terminologia utilizzata in questo ambito [2,3]. Recentemente, nuove definizioni sono state messe a punto nella Terza Consensus Conference della SCCM nel 2016 [4], che non hanno modificato nessun aspetto nell’identificazione e nel trattamento di questa patologia, ma hanno reso ridondante il termine “sepsi grave” che è stato sostituito da “sepsi” (Fig.1).

Gli studi epidemiologici riguardo la sepsi, attualmente disponibili, sono estremamente eterogenei e comprendono valutazioni retrospettive, incentrate sulle diagnosi di dimissione ospedaliera, e valutazioni prospettiche, basate su indagini osservazionali [5,6].


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