Introduction: Delaying broad-spectrum antibiotics beyond 1-2 hours once the septic shock is diagnosed increases patients risk of death. However, what is the impact of already being on antibiotics when a septic shock is diagnosed? Aim: We compared demographics, clinical characteristics and outcomes in septic shock patients on antibiotics initiated prior to versus after septic shock was diagnosed; whose initial antibiotics were considered appropriate for the offending organism(s); and who died in versus were discharged from the ICU. Methods: Data were prospectively collected on 161 patients ≥ 14-years-old (female: male=1:1; mean age 61.1yrs) admitted to the ICU for septic shock, and followed for ≥30 days, or until hospital discharge or death. Results: Few inter-group differences were identified. Those treated early were more likely to have a nosocomial infection (p=0.03), skin or soft tissue source of their infection (p=0.01), or a diabetes-related limb amputation (p=0.02); but received fewer antibiotics (p=0.01). Those on appropriate antibiotics were more likely to be female (p=0.048), but less likely to have a skin or soft tissue source of infection (p=0.03). Neither starting antibiotics early, nor being on appropriate antibiotics impacted any outcome measure, including survival. Predictors of mortality were ≥1 co-morbid condition (p=0.03), more versus fewer co-morbid conditions (p=0.009), cardiovascular disease at baseline (p=03), requiring dialysis at baseline (p=0.008), and a higher day#1 SOFA score (p
Key words: sepsis, septic shock, antibiotics, treatment, mortality.