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The objectives were to investigate the clinical characteristics of community-onset bacteremia in cirrhotic adults visiting the emergency department (ED), as well as the clinical impact of empirical antibiotics on their outcome.Cirrhotic adults with community-onset bacteremia who visited the ED from January 2005 to December 2009 were included retrospectively. Clinical data and outcome were collected from the medical chart. The in vitro susceptibility was measured by the broth microdilution method.Of the 246 bacteremic episodes in cirrhotic patients, the major sources of bacteremia included intraabdominal infections (111, 45.1%), primary bacteremia (43, 17.5%), urinary tract infection (39, 15.9%), and soft tissue infection (22, 8.9%). Of the 258 bacteremic pathogens identified, Escherichia coli (83 isolates, 33.7%) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (61, 23.6%) were the most common microorganisms. In the multivariate analysis, delayed appropriate antibiotic therapy (> 72 hours; odds ratio [OR], 4.29; P = .003), serum creatinine greater than 1.5 mg/dL at the ED (OR, 3.12; P = .005), severe sepsis (OR, 3.61; P = .01), Pittsburgh bacteremia score of at least 4 (OR, 2.66; P = .04), bacteremia due to pneumonia (OR, 5.44; P = .02), and a comorbidity of diabetes mellitus (OR, 3.54; P = .004) were independently associated with the 28-day mortality.Focusing on cirrhotic adults with community-onset bacteremia, we emphasized that the cirrhosis severity is one of the critical factors when choosing empirical antimicrobial therapy and that the strategy of empirical therapy is warranted for cirrhotic adults with severe decompensation (Child's C group). For critically ill patients, especially in those with Child's C group, only piperacillin/tazobactam, ertapenem, or imipenem treatment was warranted because of susceptibility rate of greater than 90%.