Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia: epidemiology, outcome, and laboratory characteristics in a tertiary referral center in the UK

Tom Lewis, Rahila Chaudhry, Peter Nightingale, Peter Lambert, Ira Das*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To analyze the recent epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia in a UK tertiary referral center. Methods: We collected epidemiological and laboratory data on all cases of MRSA bacteremia from September 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007. Results: There were 195 clinically significant episodes. Most were hospital-acquired. Only one episode occurred in patients without a history of hospital admission in the previous 12 months. An intravascular device was the most common focus of infection (37%), with no identifiable source found in 35% of episodes. Twenty-eight percent of patients died within 30 days of bacteremia. Mortality was significantly higher in the absence of an identifiable focus. Failure to include an antibiotic active against MRSA in the empirical treatment was only significantly associated with death in patients showing signs of hemodynamic instability (p < 0.001). No isolates had a minimum inhibitory concentration to vancomycin above 1.5. mg/l and no heteroresistance to glycopeptide antibiotics (heteroresistant vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus; hVISA) was detected. All isolates were sensitive to daptomycin, tigecycline, and linezolid. Conclusions: Despite improvement in infection control measures, medical devices remain the most common source of infection. Inappropriate empirical antibiotic usage is associated with a poor outcome in patients with signs of severe sepsis. Susceptibility to glycopeptides and newer antibiotics remains good.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e131-e135
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Early online date4 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • glycopeptide heteroresistance
  • mortality
  • MRSA bacteremia

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