Of 142 episodes of Escherichia coli bacteremia that were reviewed, appropriate antibiotics were administered during 98 episodes diagnosed premortem and 74 episodes (71%) responded. The highest cure rates were observed when the portals of entry were the urinary tract and soft tissues. Administration of adrenal corticosteroids did not affect the outcome of these patients. The patients' neutrophil counts at the onset and during infection were important factors in predicting survival. Septic shock occurred in 13% of all episodes, and only 11% of these patients responded. Of those patients who died, 63% died within the first 24 hours. Aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, and semisynthetic penicillins used alone or in combination offered optimal coverage.
(Arch Intern Med 138:1230-1233, 1978)