Objective: To test whether a critical care consult team can be used to identify patients who have methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization during a window period at which they are at highest risk for methicillin-resistant S. aureus infection and can most benefit from topical decolonization strategies.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Two adult tertiary care hospitals.
Patients: Patients with at least one risk factor for methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization who were seen by a critical care consult team for potential intensive care unit admission were enrolled.
Interventions: Nasal cultures for methicillin-resistant S. aureus were performed on all subjects. All subjects were followed for the development of a methicillin-resistant S. aureus infection for 60 days or until hospital discharge. Demographic and outcome data were recorded on all subjects.
Measurements and Main Results: Two hundred subjects were enrolled. Overall 29 of 200 (14.5%) were found to have methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections occurred in seven of 29 (24.1%) subjects with methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization vs. one of 171 (0.6%) subjects without methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization (p < .001). Methicillin-resistant S. aureus clinical specimens were recovered in 15 of 29 (51.7%) subjects with methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization vs. two of 171 (1.2%) without methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization.
Conclusions: A critical care consult team can be used to rapidly recognize patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization who are at very elevated risk for methicillin-resistant S. aureus infection. The use of such a team to recognize patients who have greatest potential benefit from decolonization techniques might reduce the burden of severe methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections.
From the Departments of Critical Care Medicine (AK, LL-F, JY, HS) and Pathology (ML), Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY; and the Department of Medicine (FDL), Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.
The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.
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