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To better understand the clinical outcomes of patients with extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-KP) bacteraemia treated with either flomoxef or a carbapenem, and to evaluate the in vitro activities of these antibiotics against ESBL-KP.Retrospective analyses to identify risk factors for mortality in patients with flomoxef-susceptible ESBL-KP, especially addressing the therapeutic roles of flomoxef and carbapenem. In vitro activities of flomoxef and carbapenem against flomoxef-susceptible ESBL-KP isolates were evaluated by susceptibility testing and time–kill study.Twenty-seven patients (flomoxef group, n=7; carbapenem group, n=20) were included. Clinical severity reflected by high Pitt bacteraemia score (≥6) was an independent risk factor for mortality (OR 13.43; 95% CI, 1.08–166.73; P=0.043), while use of flomoxef or a carbapenem was not. The MICs of flomoxef and carbapenem indicated that the tested ESBL-KP were susceptible to these antibiotics regardless of the inoculum size of 105 or 107 cfu/mL. Time–kill study showed that these antibiotics (flomoxef 8 mg/L and meropenem 4 mg/L) each acted actively against and inhibited the regrowth of the tested ESBL-KP for at least 24 h.Flomoxef might be as clinically effective as a carbapenem in treating flomoxef-susceptible ESBL-KP bacteraemia.