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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2018 Feb 1;73(2):385-391. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkx404.

Rapid disc diffusion antibiotic susceptibility testing for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Enterococcus spp.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Universität Zürich, 8006 Zürich, Schweiz.



We investigated the feasibility of rapid disc diffusion antibiotic susceptibility testing (rAST) with reading of inhibition zones after 6 and/or 8 h of incubation for Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. In addition, we evaluated discrimination of resistant populations from the WT populations at early timepoints and the requirement for clinical breakpoint adaptations for proper interpretation of rAST data.


In total, 815 clinical strains [E. faecalis (n = 135), E. faecium (n = 227), P. aeruginosa (n = 295) and A. baumannii (n = 158)] were included in this study. Disc diffusion plates were streaked, incubated and imaged using the WASPLabTM automation system. WT populations and non-WT populations were defined using epidemiological cut-offs.

Results and conclusions:

rAST at 6 and 8 h was possible for A. baumannii and enterococci with readability of inhibition zones >90%. Overall categorical agreement of rAST at 6 h with AST at 18 h was 97.2%, 97.4% and 95.3% for E. faecalis, E. faecium and A. baumannii, respectively. With few exceptions, major categorization error rates were <1% for A. baumannii, and vancomycin-resistant E. faecium were clearly separated from the WT at 6 h. For P. aeruginosa the average readability of inhibition zones was 68.9% at 8 h and we found an overall categorical agreement of 94.8%. Adaptations of clinical breakpoints and/or introduction of technical buffer zones, preferably based on aggregated population data from various epidemiological settings, are required for proper interpretation of rAST.

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