Do Polymicrobial Intra-Abdominal Infections Have Worse Outcomes than Monomicrobial Intra-Abdominal Infections?

Puja M. Shah, Brandy L. Edwards, Zachary C. Dietch, Christopher A. Guidry, Stephen W. Davies, Sara A. Hennessy, Therese M. Duane, Patrick J. O'Neill, Raul Coimbra, Charles H. Cook, Reza Askari, Kimberly Popovsky, Robert G. Sawyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated microorganism interaction through signaling molecules, some of which are recognized by other bacterial species. This interspecies synergy can prove detrimental to the human host in polymicrobial infections. We hypothesized that polymicrobial intra-abdominal infections (IAI) have worse outcomes than monomicrobial infections. Methods: Data from the Study to Optimize Peritoneal Infection Therapy (STOP-IT), a prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial, were reviewed for all occurrences of IAI having culture results available. Patients in STOP-IT had been randomized to receive four days of antibiotics vs. antibiotics until two days after clinical symptom resolution. Patients with polymicrobial and monomicrobial infections were compared by univariable analysis using the Wilcoxon rank sum, χ2, and Fisher exact tests. Results: Culture results were available for 336 of 518 patients (65%). The durations of antibiotic therapy in polymicrobial (n = 225) and monomicrobial IAI (n = 111) were equal (p = 0.78). Univariable analysis demonstrated similar demographics in the two populations. The 37 patients (11%) with inflammatory bowel disease were more likely to have polymicrobial IAI (p = 0.05). Polymicrobial infections were not associated with a higher risk of surgical site infection, recurrent IAI, or death. Conclusion: Contrary to our hypothesis, polymicrobial IAI do not have worse outcomes than monomicrobial infections. These results suggest polymicrobial IAI can be treated the same as monomicrobial IAI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-31
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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