Vancomycin may be inferior to β-lactams for the empiric treatment of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) bacteremia. We compared empiric β-lactams to vancomycin to assess clinical outcomes in patients with MSSA bacteremia.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult inpatients with their first episode of MSSA bacteremia at two tertiary care hospitals in Vancouver, Canada, between 2007 and 2014. Exposure was either empiric β-lactam with or without vancomycin or vancomycin monotherapy. All patients received definitive treatment with cloxacillin or cefazolin. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality. Secondary outcomes were 90-day mortality, duration of bacteremia, and hospital length-of-stay. Outcomes were adjusted using multivariable logistic regression.
Of 669 patients identified, 255 met inclusion criteria (β-lactam = 131, vancomycin = 124). Overall 28-day mortality was 7.06 % (n = 18). There were more cases of infective endocarditis in the β-lactam than in the vancomycin group [24 (18.3 %) vs 12 (9.7 %), p = 0.05]. Adjusted mortality at 28 days was similar between the two groups (OR 0.85; 95 % CI 0.27–2.67). The duration of bacteremia was longer in the vancomycin group (97.1 vs 70.7 h, p = 0.007). Transition to cloxacillin or cefazolin occurred within a median of 68.3 h in the vancomycin group.
Empiric β-lactams was associated with earlier clearance of bacteremia by a median of 1 day compared to vancomycin. Future prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings.