Introduction: The impact of in vitro resistance on initially appropriate antibiotic therapy (IAAT) remains unclear. We elucidated the relationship between non-IAAT and mortality, and between IAAT and multi-drug resistance (MDR) in sepsis due to Gram-negative bacteremia (GNS).Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective cohort study of adult intensive care unit patients with bacteremia and severe sepsis/septic shock caused by a gram-negative (GN) organism. We identified the following MDR pathogens: MDR P. aeruginosa, extended spectrum beta-lactamase and carbapenemase-producing organisms. IAAT was defined as exposure within 24 hours of infection onset to antibiotics active against identified pathogens based on in vitro susceptibility testing. We derived logistic regression models to examine a) predictors of hospital mortality and b) impact of MDR on non-IAAT. Proportions are presented for categorical variables, and median values with interquartile ranges (IQR) for continuous.Results: Out of 1,064 patients with GNS, 351 (29.2%) did not survive hospitalization. Non-survivors were older (66.5 (55, 73.5) versus 63 (53, 72) years, P = 0.036), sicker (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (19 (15, 25) versus 16 (12, 19), P <0.001), and more likely to be on pressors (odds ratio (OR) 2.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.12 to 3.68), mechanically ventilated (OR 3.06, 95% CI 2.29 to 4.10) have MDR (10.0% versus 4.0%, P <0.001) and receive non-IAAT (43.4% versus 14.6%, P <0.001). In a logistic regression model, non-IAAT was an independent predictor of hospital mortality (adjusted OR 3.87, 95% CI 2.77 to 5.41). In a separate model, MDR was strongly associated with the receipt of non-IAAT (adjusted OR 13.05, 95% CI 7.00 to 24.31).Conclusions: MDR, an important determinant of non-IAAT, is associated with a three-fold increase in the risk of hospital mortality. Given the paucity of therapies to cover GN MDRs, prevention and development of new agents are critical.