Delaying antibiotics for elders with urinary tract infections (UTI) may put them at increased risk for sepsis and death, according to a retrospective study in The British Medical Journal (BMJ).
U.K. researchers examined the medical records of 157,000 adults aged 65 and older who were diagnosed in primary care with at least one UTI. Some 313,000 suspected or confirmed, uncomplicated UTIs were included: Antibiotics were prescribed immediately for 87%, were delayed but prescribed within a week for 6%, and were not prescribed at all for 7%.
The rates of bloodstream infection and mortality within 60 days were significantly higher when antibiotics were delayed or not prescribed than when they were prescribed immediately. In particular, the researchers calculate that one excess bloodstream infection would occur for every 37 untreated patients and for every 51 who received delayed treatment, and one excess death would occur for every 27 untreated patients and every 83 who received delayed treatment.