Pathogens and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles in critically ill patients with bloodstream infections: a descriptive study Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance is vital to guiding empirical treatment of infections. Collating and reporting routine data on clinical isolate testing may offer more timely information about resistance patterns than traditional surveillance network methods. METHODS: Using routine microbiology testing data collected from the Bacteremia Antibiotic Length Actually Needed for Clinical Effectiveness retrospective cohort study, we conducted a descriptive secondary analysis among critically ill patients in whom bloodstream infections had been diagnosed in 14 intensive care units (ICUs) in Canada. The participating sites were located within tertiary care teaching hospitals and represented 6 provinces and 10 cities. More than 80% of the study population was accrued from 2011-2013. We assessed the epidemiologic features of the infections and corresponding antimicrobial susceptibility profiles. Susceptibility testing was done according to Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines at accredited laboratories. RESULTS: A total of 1416 pathogens were isolated from 1202 patients. The most common organisms were Escherichia coli (217 isolates [15.3%]), Staphylococcus aureus (175 [12.4%]), coagulase-negative staphylococci (117 [8.3%]), Klebsiella pneumoniae (86 [6.1%]) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (85 [6.0%]). The contribution of individual pathogens varied by site. For 13 ICUs, gram-negative susceptibility rates were high for carbapenems (95.4%), tobramycin (91.2%) and piperacillin-tazobactam (90.0%); however, the proportion of specimens susceptible to these agents ranged from 75.0%-100%, 66.7%-100% and 75.0%-100%, respectively, across sites. Fewer gram-negative bacteria were susceptible to fluoroquinolones (84.5% [range 64.1%-97.2%]). A total of 145 patients (12.1%) had infections caused by highly resistant microorganisms, with significant intersite variation (range 2.6%-24.0%, χ2 = 57.50, p < 0.001). INTERPRETATION: We assessed the epidemiologic features of bloodstream infections in a geographically diverse cohort of critically ill Canadian patients using routine pathogen and susceptibility data extracted from readily available microbiology testing databases. Expanding data sharing across more ICUs, with serial measurement and prompt reporting, could provide much-needed guidance for empiric treatment for patients as well as system-wide prevention methods to limit antimicrobial resistance.


  • Savage, RD
  • Fowler, RA
  • Rishu, AH
  • Bagshaw, SM
  • Cook, Deborah
  • Dodek, P
  • Hall, R
  • Kumar, A
  • Lamontagne, F
  • Lauzier, F
  • Marshall, J
  • Martin, CM
  • McIntyre, L
  • Muscedere, J
  • Reynolds, S
  • Stelfox, HT
  • Daneman, N

publication date

  • October 13, 2016