Knowing prior methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus(MRSA) infection or colonization status increases the empirical use of glycopeptides in MRSA bacteraemia and may decrease mortality

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To compare the management and outcome of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia in patients known to be MRSA-colonized/infected (C-patients) with the management and outcome in those not known to be colonized/infected (NC-patients), we conducted a 10-year retrospective review of MRSA bacteraemia in an adult tertiary hospital. Clinical data were obtained by chart review, and mortality data from linked databases. Prior MRSA colonization/infection status was available to treating clinicians at the time of the bacteraemia as a ‘Micro-Alert’ tag on the patient's labels, in medical charts, and in electronic information systems. C-patients accounted for 35.4% of all MRSA bacteraemia episodes. C-patients were more likely to be indigenous, to be diabetic, or to have a history of previous S. aureus infection. Markers of illness severity (Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS)-II, need for admission to the intensive-care unit, length of stay, and metastatic seeding) were similar in both groups. Empirical therapy included a glycopeptide in 49.3% of C-patients vs. 18.9% of NC-patients (p <0.01), and contained an antibiotic to which the MRSA isolate tested susceptible in vitro in 56.7% of C-patients vs. 45.1% of NC-patients (p 0.13). All-cause 7-day and 30-day mortality were 7.5% vs. 18.9% (p 0.04), and 22.4% vs. 31.1% (p 0.20), in the C-patient and NC-patient groups, respectively. Knowing MRSA colonization status was significantly associated with lower 30-day mortality in Cox regression analysis (p <0.01). These data suggest that mortality from MRSA bacteraemia is lower in C-patients, which may reflect the earlier use of glycopeptides. The low use of empirical glycopeptides in septic patients known to be previously MRSA-colonized/infected may represent a missed opportunity for infection control to positively impact on clinical management.

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