A prospective surveillance program was initiated to determine the relative role of antibiotics containing N-methylthiotetrazole (NMTT) versus patient risk factors in producing antibiotic-associated bleeding. Five hundred forty-six critically ill patients with serum albumin 30 g/L or below were evaluated for evidence of a bleeding event as documented by clinical observation, hemoglobin changes, and transfusions. Bleeding events occurred in 16% of patients receiving an aminoglycoside combination, 10% receiving antibiotics with the NMTT side chain, and 14.5% receiving antibiotics not containing NMTT (p greater than 0.05). The bleeding rate was highest in febrile patients with cancer (14.5%) and lowest in those with a suspected or documented abdominal infection (10%) (p = 0.04), but within each patient group there was no difference among the antibiotics. We conclude that the use of NMTT-containing antibiotics is not an independent risk factor for bleeding, but the role of severity of illness may be underappreciated.
By Goss, T.F., Cynthia Walawander, Thaddeus H Grasela Jr., Meisel, S., Katona, B., Jaynes, K.,