Polymicrobial sepsis is a common and frequently fatal clinical condition that has received relatively little attention in published reports. Retrospectively, we reviewed the case records of 184 patients with polymicrobial sepsis seen at three Dallas hospitals between 1972 and 1977. Analysis of clinical data using log linear models enabled us to identify significant positive correlations (p<0.05) between mortality resulting from polymicrobial sepsis and underlying disease category, failure to manifest fever, a pulmonary portal of entry, hypotension, and hospital-associated sepsis. No significant correlation with outcome could be demonstrated for age, hospital service, species of infecting microorganisms, number of microorganisms isolated from blood, WBC count, or antimicrobial therapy. In spite of indirect evidence for synergistic relationships between microorganisms responsible for polymicrobial sepsis in man, we could not resolve whether antimicrobial regimens that are effective against all microorganisms participating in polymicrobial infections are required to insure a favorable outcome.
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