Nasal Swab Screening for Staphylococcus aureus in Spinal Deformity Patients Treated With Growing Rods

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Abstract

Background:

Surgical-site infections are one of the most concerning complications in patients treated with growing rods (GR). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of preoperative screening for Staphylococcus aureus (SA) for all growing spine procedures, and if this would permit alteration of prophylactic antibiotics to cover the identified resistances.

Methods:

All patients were identified who had SA screening during the course of GR treatment. In otal, 34 patients [23 neuromuscular (NMS), 4 congenital, 4 idiopathic scoliosis (IS), and 3 syndromic] were identified who had 111 preoperative screenings [79 lengthenings, 23 insertions, 6 revisions, and 3 conversions to posterior spinal fusions (PSF)]. Mean age at GR insertion was 5.5 years (2 to 11 y).

Results:

There were 11 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) “+” screenings in 6 patients (5 NMS, 1 IS): 3 in 3 patients before GR insertion and 8 in 3 patients (all 3 were negative at GR insertion screening) at subsequent surgeries. There were 23 methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) “+” screenings in 12 patients (7 NMS, 2 congenital, 2 IS, 1 syndromic): 2 in 2 patients before GR insertion and 21 in 10 patients at subsequent surgeries (18 lengthenings, 3 revisions). Overall, 13 patients (3 MRSA+10 MSSA) were initially negative but screened positive for the first time at a subsequent surgery (12 lengthenings, 1 GR to PSF). All patients (n=5) with positive screenings before GR insertion were in patients with NMS (3 MRSA, 2 MSSA). On the basis of sensitivities, 9 patients demonstrated SA resistance to cefazolin (8 MRSA and 1 MSSA) and 6 to clindamycin (5 MRSA and 1 MSSA). Hence, if cefazolin was routinely used for all patients 26.5% of patients (9/34) would have been inadequately covered at some point during their GR treatment; clindamycin, 17.7% (6/34).

Conclusion:

The use of SA nasal swab screening in GR patients identified 9 patients (26.5%) whose prophylactic antibiotics (cefazolin) could be altered to permit appropriate SA coverage.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV—retrospective case series.

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