Cluster-distinguishing genotypic and phenotypic diversity of carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria in solid-organ transplantation patients: a comparative study

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Purpose.Solid-organ transplant recipients may display high rates of colonization and/or infection by multidrug-resistant bacteria. We analysed and compared the phenotypic and genotypic diversity of carbapenem-resistant (CR) strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from patients in the Solid Organ Transplantation department of our hospital.Methodology.Between March 2012 and August 2013, 56 CR strains from various biological fluids underwent antimicrobial susceptibility testing with VITEK 2, molecular analysis by PCR amplification and genotypic analysis with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). They were clustered according to antimicrobial drug susceptibility and genotypic profiles. Diversity analyses were performed by calculating Simpson’s diversity index and applying computed rarefaction curves.Results/Key findings.Among K. pneumoniae, KP-producers predominated (57.1%). VIM and OXA-23 carbapenemases prevailed among P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii (89.4 and 88.9%, respectively). KPC-producing K. pneumoniae and OXA-23 A. baumannii were assigned in single PFGE pulsotypes. VIM-producing P. aeruginosa generated multiple pulsotypes. CR K. pneumoniae strains displayed phenotypic diversity in tigecycline, colistin (CS), amikacin (AMK), gentamicin (GEN) and co-trimoxazole (SXT) (16 clusters); P. aeruginosa displayed phenotypic diversity in cefepime (FEP), ceftazidime, aztreonam, piperacillin, piperacillin-tazobactam, AMK, GEN and CS (9 clusters); and A. baumannii displayed phenotypic diversity in AMK, GEN, SXT, FEP, tobramycin and rifampicin (8 clusters). The Simpson diversity indices for the interpretative phenotype and PFGE analysis were 0.89 and 0.6, respectively, for K. pneumoniae strains (P<0.001); 0.77 and 0.6 for P. aeruginosa (P=0.22); and 0.86 and 0.19 for A. baumannii (P=0.004).Conclusion.The presence of different antimicrobial susceptibility profiles does not preclude the possibility that two CR K. pneumoniae or A. baumannii isolates are clonally related.

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