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Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology:
Brief Research Reports

Intraabdominal Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus Infections: The New Threat

Poduval, Rajiv D. M.D.; Kamath, Ramdas P. M.D.; Corpuz, Marilou M.D.; Norkus, Edward P. Ph.D.; Pitchumoni, C. S. M.D., F.A.C.G.

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Goals: To determine the clinical course and outcome in patients with intraabdominal vancomycin-resistant enterococcus infections (VRE-A) and to identify probable risk factors for VRE-A.

Background: Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus is one of the most notable nosocomial emerging pathogens. The incidence is increasing, especially in the abdominal surgery setting.

Study: A comparative study of patients with VRE-A and VRE infection in other sites (VRE-O) who were hospitalized for over 1 year. Fisher exact test and Student t test were used; a two-tailed p value of less than 0.05 was considered to be significant.

Results: Of 89 nine patients with VRE, six had VRE-A, 24 had VRE-O, and 59 had VRE colonization. The VRE-A group was comprised of one patient with an inoperable Klatskin tumor and biliary sepsis, one with acquired immune deficiency syndrome and an infected pancreatic pseudocyst, two with fecal peritonitis, and two with biliary sepsis after surgery for common bile duct stones. All six patients with VRE-A had recent surgery before VRE isolation, as compared with three in the VRE-O group (p = 0.0001). Despite adequate treatment with intravenous chloramphenicol, resulting in eradication of VRE in all six VRE-A cases, the mortality rate remained high at 50%.

Conclusions: Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus should be recognized as an emerging nosocomial pathogen that causes potentially fatal intraabdominal infections in the postsurgical setting. However, the impact of treatment on ultimate outcome needs further evaluation.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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