Positive Culture and Prognosis in Patients With Sepsis: A Prospective Cohort Study

Fernando Molina, Pablo Castaño, Maribel Plaza, Carolina Hincapié, Wilmar Maya, Juan Carlos Cataño, Javier González, Alba León, Fabián Jaimes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To analyze the prognostic role of positive cultures in patients with sepsis.

Methods: A prospective cohort study in a tertiary referral hospital in Medellín, Colombia. Adults older than 18 years of age with a bacterial infection diagnosis according to Centers for Disease Control criteria and sepsis (evidence of organ dysfunction) were included. A logistic regression model was used to determine the association between positive cultures and hospital mortality, and a Cox regression with a competing risk modeling approach was used to determine the association between positive cultures and hospital stay as well as secondary infections.

Results: Overall, 408 patients had positive cultures, of which 257 were blood culture, and 153 had negative cultures. Patients with positive cultures had a lower risk of mortality (odds ratio [OR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.27-0.68), but this association was not maintained after adjusting for confounding factors (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.31-1.01). No association was found with the hospital stay (adjusted subhazard ratio [SHR], 1.06; 95% CI, 0.83-1.35). There was no association between positive cultures and the presence of secondary infections (adjusted SHR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.58-1.71).

Conclusion: Positive cultures are not associated with prognosis in patients with sepsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-762
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1-Aug-2020
Externally publishedYes


  • blood culture
  • epidemiology
  • microbiological culture
  • mortality
  • sepsis

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