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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Dec;18(12):1194-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03737.x. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Evaluation of a diagnostic flow chart for detection and confirmation of extended spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL) in Enterobacteriaceae.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Universität Zürich, Zürich, Schweiz.


This study aimed to develop a modular, diagnostic algorithm for extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) detection in Enterobacteriaceae. Clinical Enterobacteriaceae strains (n = 2518) were screened for ESBL production using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) breakpoints for third-generation cephalosporins and by synergy image detection (clavulanic acid/extended-spectrum cephalosporins). Isolates screening positive for ESBL (n = 242, 108 by critical CLSI diameters alone, five by double disk synergy test (DDST) alone, and 129 by both critical diameters and DDST) and 138 ESBL screening negative isolates (control group) were investigated by molecular methods considered to be the reference standard (multiplex CTX-M type PCR, TEM and SHV type sequence characterization). One hundred and twenty-four out of 242 Enterobacteriaceae isolates screening positive for ESBL were confirmed to be ESBL positive by the reference standard, the majority of them in E. coli, K. pneumoniae and E. cloacae (94, 17 and nine isolates, respectively). Prevalence of ESBL production ranged from <1% for P. mirabilis to 4.7%, 5.1% and 6.6%, for K. pneumoniae, E. cloacae and E. coli, respectively. Combining CLSI ceftriaxone and cefpodoxime critical ESBL diameters was found to be the most sensitive phenotypic screening method (sensitivity 99.2%). Combining critical diameters of cefpodoxime and ceftriaxone with DDST for cefpodoxime resulted in a sensitivity of 100%. For phenotypic confirmation, combining the CLSI recommended combined disk test (CDT) for ceftazidime and cefotaxime amended with a cefepime CDT was highly sensitive (100%) and specific (97.5%). With respect to the studied population, the diagnostic ESBL algorithm developed would have resulted in sensitivity and specificity of 100%. The corresponding flow chart is simple, easy to use, inexpensive and applicable in the routine diagnostic laboratory.

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