Objective. We examined whether specific time windows after hospital admission reflected a sharp transition between community and hospital acquisition of bacteremia. We further examined whether different time windows to distinguish between community acquisition, healthcare association (HCA), and hospital acquisition influenced the results of prognostic models. Design. Population-based cohort study. Setting. Hospitals in 3 areas of Denmark (2.3 million inhabitants) during 2000-2011. Methods. We computed graphs depicting proportions of males, absence of comorbidity, microorganisms, and 30-day mortality pertaining to bacteremia 0, 1, 2, …, 30, and 31 days and later after admission. Next, we assessed whether different admission (0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-7 days) and HCA (30, 90 days) time windows were associated with changes in odds ratio (OR) and area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for 30-day mortality, adjusting for sex, age, comorbidity, and microorganisms. Results. For 56,606 bacteremic episodes, no sharp transitions were detected on a specific day after admission. Among the 8 combined time windows, ORs for 30-day mortality varied from 1.30 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23-1.37) to 1.99 (95% CI, 1.48-2.67) for HCA and from 1.36 (95% CI, 1.24-1.50) to 2.53 (95% CI, 2.01-3.20) for hospital acquisition compared with community acquisition. Area under the ROC curve changed marginally from 0.684 (95% CI, 0.679-0.689) to 0.700 (95% CI, 0.695-0.705). Conclusions. No time transitions unanimously distinguished between community and hospital acquisition with regard to sex, comorbidity, or microorganisms, and no difference in 30-day mortality was seen for HCA patients in relation to a 30- or 90-day time window. ORs decreased consistently in the order of hospital acquisition, HCA, and community acquisition, regardless of time window combination, and differences in area under the ROC curve were immaterial.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2014, Vol 35, Issue 12, p. 1474-82