This study evaluated a PCR method for the rapid detection of clinically significant genotypes of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in nosocomial surveillance specimens. Detection of the
vanAand vanBgenes by multiplex PCR using 657 specimens that showed presumptive growth of VRE on bile esculin azide agar containing 6 mg of vancomycin/liter was compared to the conventional method. The diagnostic values for the PCR compared to the phenotypic method were as follows: 99.8% specificity, 95.4% sensitivity, 98.8% positive predictive value, and 99.3% negative predictive value. The average cost per test for PCR is $8.26, compared to $9.45 for the phenotypic method. The average turnaround time for detecting a VRE is 48 h for PCR, compared to 96 h for the conventional method.