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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1991 Aug; 35(8): 1626–1634.
PMCID: PMC245231

Bacteremia caused by hemolytic, high-level gentamicin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis.


Between 1 January 1984 and 31 December 1987, 206 enterococcal blood isolates at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics were analyzed for high-level aminoglycoside resistance (hereafter high-level aminoglycoside resistance is simply referred to as "resistance") and hemolysin production. Of 190 Enterococcus faecalis isolates, 68 (35.8%) were resistant to gentamicin. Of these 68 strains, 67 (98.5%) contained a gene coding for the bifunctional aminoglycoside-modifying 6'-aminoglycoside acetyltransferase-2"-aminoglycoside phosphotransferase [AAC(6')-APH(2")] enzyme. Of 190 isolates, 85 (44.7%) were hemolytic and contained a gene coding for component A of the enterococcal hemolysin. Sixty-two of 68 (91.2%) gentamicin-resistant isolates but only 23 of 122 (18.8%) gentamicin-susceptible isolates were hemolytic (P less than 0.001). Twelve of the hemolytic, gentamicin-resistant E. faecalis blood isolates, but only 2 of 9 nonhemolytic or gentamicin-susceptible isolates, had identical chromosomal DNA restriction endonuclease digestion patterns, suggesting a common derivation for these strains. A historical cohort study from 1 July 1985 to 31 March 1987 identified by regression analysis postsurgical intensive care unit status (odds ratio [OR], 5.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 22.8) and prior treatment with an expanded- or broad-spectrum cephalosporin (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 0.9 to 10.1) as risk factors for gentamicin-resistant E. faecalis bacteremia. Patients with hemolytic, gentamicin-resistant E. faecalis bacteremia had a fivefold-increased risk for death within 3 weeks of their bacteremia compared with patients with nonhemolytic, gentamicin-susceptible strains (95% CI, 1.0 to 25.4).

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