To compare the microbiology, sources, complications, and outcome of bacteremia in diabetic and nondiabetic patients.

Research Design and Methods

A prospective study was conducted of all episodes of bacteremia in hospitalized diabetic and nondiabetic patients. The study consisted of patients ≥ 18 yr of age with bacteremia detected within a 19-mo interval.


We compared 124 episodes of bacteremia in 119 diabetic patients to 508 episodes in 480 nondiabetic patients. Diabetic patients were older than nondiabetic patients (median age 74 vs. 68 yr, P = 0.0001). In patients with an indwelling urinary catheter and bacteremic urinary tract infection, the percentage of Klebsiella in diabetic patients was 60% (6 of 10) and in nondiabetic patients was 17% (4 of 23, P = 0.04). In patients without an obvious source of bacteremia, the percentage of staphylococcal isolates in diabetic patients was 29% (10 of 35) and in nondiabetic patients was 14% (24 of 176, P = 0.04). Staphylococci were a common cause of bacteremic infections of the extremities in diabetic patients (12 of 19, 63%) and nondiabetic patients (20 of 50, 40%). Septic shock was the only complication that was more common in diabetic patients. The mortality in diabetic and nondiabetic patients was 28 and 29%, respectively.


Our results represent elderly patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In this group, empirical treatment for suspected bacteremic urinary tract infection in patients with a urinary catheter should include coverage for Klebsiella. Empiric treatment for suspected bacteremia of unknown origin or caused by infection of the extremities should include an antistaphylococcal drug. The prognosis of bacteremia in diabetic and nondiabetic patients was similar.

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