Send to

Choose Destination

Comparison of disc diffusion, Etest and broth microdilution for testing susceptibility of carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa to polymyxins.

Author information

Laboratory of Medical Investigation 54, Hospital das Clinicas, University of São Paulo, Brazil.



Considering the increasing use of polymyxins to treat infections due to multidrug resistant Gram-negative in many countries, it is important to evaluate different susceptibility testing methods to this class of antibiotic.


Susceptibility of 109 carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa to polymyxins was tested comparing broth microdilution (reference method), disc diffusion, and Etest using the new interpretative breakpoints of Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute.


Twenty-nine percent of isolates belonged to endemic clone and thus, these strains were excluded of analysis. Among 78 strains evaluated, only one isolate was resistant to polymyxin B by the reference method (MIC: 8.0 microg/mL). Very major and major error rates of 1.2% and 11.5% were detected comparing polymyxin B disc diffusion with the broth microdilution (reference method). Agreement within 1 twofold dilution between Etest and the broth microdilution were 33% for polymyxin B and 79.5% for colistin. One major error and 48.7% minor errors were found comparing polymyxin B Etest with broth microdilution and only 6.4% minor errors with colistin. The concordance between Etest and the broth microdilution (reference method) was respectively 100% for colistin and 90% for polymyxin B.


Resistance to polymyxins seems to be rare among hospital carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa isolates over a six-year period. Our results showed, using the new CLSI criteria, that the disc diffusion susceptibility does not report major errors (false-resistant results) for colistin. On the other hand, showed a high frequency of minor errors and 1 very major error for polymyxin B. Etest presented better results for colistin than polymyxin B. Until these results are reproduced with a large number of polymyxins-resistant P. aeruginosa isolates, susceptibility to polymyxins should be confirmed by a reference method.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center