Antibiotic Class and Outcome in Post-stroke Infections: An individual participant data pooled analysis of VISTA-acute

VISTA Collaboration and PISCES Group

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Introduction: Antibiotics used to treat post-stroke infections have differing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Our aim was to investigate whether antibiotic class was associated with outcome after post-stroke infection. Methods: We analyzed pooled individual participant data from the Virtual International Stroke Trials Archive (VISTA)-Acute. Patients with ischemic stroke and with an infection treated with systemic antibiotic therapy during the first 2 weeks after stroke onset were eligible. Antibiotics were grouped into eight classes, according to antimicrobial mechanism and prevalence. The primary analysis investigated whether antibiotic class for any infection, or for pneumonia, was independently associated with a shift in 90 day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) using ordinal logistic regression. Results: 2,708 patients were eligible (median age [IQR] = 74 [65 to 80] y; 51% female; median [IQR] NIHSS score = 15 [11 to 19]). Pneumonia occurred in 35%. Treatment with macrolides (5% of any infections; 9% of pneumonias) was independently associated with more favorable mRS distribution for any infection [OR (95% CI) = 0.59 (0.42 to 0.83), p = 0.004] and for pneumonia [OR (95% CI) = 0.46 (0.29 to 0.73), p = 0.001]. Unfavorable mRS distribution was independently associated with treatment of any infection either with carbapenems, cephalosporins or monobactams [OR (95% CI) = 1.62 (1.33 to 1.97), p < 0.001], penicillin plus β-lactamase inhibitors [OR (95% CI) = 1.26 (1.03 to 1.54), p = 0.025] or with aminoglycosides [OR (95% CI) = 1.73 (1.22 to 2.46), p = 0.002]. Conclusion: This retrospective study has several limitations including effect modification and confounding by indication. Macrolides may have favorable immune-modulatory effects in stroke-associated infections. Prospective evaluation of the impact of antibiotic class on treatment of post-stroke infections is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number504
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 2019


  • Acute
  • Antibiotics
  • Post-stroke infections
  • Post-stroke pneumonia
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke


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