Blood culture series benefit may be limited to selected clinical conditions: time to reassess.

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Blood culture series benefit may be limited to selected clinical conditions: time to reassess.

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Nov 27;

Authors: Khatib R, Simeunovic G, Sharma M, Fakih MG, Johnson LB, Briski L, Lebar W

Blood cultures are often submitted as series (two to three sets per 24 hours) to maximize sample recovery. We assessed the actual benefit of additional sets. Blood cultures submitted from adults (≥18 years old) over 1 year (1 February 2012 to 31 January 2013) were examined. The medical records of patients with positive cultures were reviewed. Cultures with commensal organisms were considered contamination in the absence of a source and clinical findings. The impact of additional sets on antibiotic therapy was estimated. We evaluated 15 394 blood cultures. They were submitted as two to five sets per 24 hours in 12 236 (79.5%) instances. Pathogens were detected in 1227 sets, representing 741 bacteremias, of which 618 (83.4%) were detected in the first set and 123 (16.6%) in the additional sets. Pathogens missed in the first set were recovered from patients receiving antibiotics (n = 72; 58.5%) and after undergoing a procedure (n = 54; 43.9%). The additional sets' results could have influenced antibiotic therapy in 76/6235 (1.2%) instances, including 40 (0.6%) antibiotic switches and 36 (0.6%) possible extensions of therapy. The potential impact of the detection of missed pathogens on antibiotic therapy was not apparent in patients who had an endovascular infection (26/27, 96.3%) and those who lacked an obvious source of pathogens (10/10, 100%). These findings suggest that one blood culture is probably adequate in patients with an obvious source of pathogens. Blood culture series are beneficial in patients without an obvious source of pathogens and in those with endovascular infections. It is time to reassess the benefit of blood culture series, perhaps limiting them to selected conditions.

PMID: 25658519 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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