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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1994 Oct;38(10):2357-61.

Standardization of disk diffusion test and its clinical significance for susceptibility testing of metronidazole against Helicobacter pylori.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, St. James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Susceptibilities of 121 clinical Helicobacter pylori strains to metronidazole were determined by both a 5-micrograms metronidazole disk diffusion test and a plate dilution method in duplicate and after different periods of incubation. The distribution of MICs of metronidazole against H. pylori among the strains was found to be bimodal. The diameters of inhibitory zones obtained by the disk diffusion test and the MICs obtained by the plate dilution method correlated well, especially after 4 days of incubation (r = 0.77). An inhibitory zone diameter of 20 mm was found to correspond to a MIC of 8 micrograms/ml and is recommended as a suitable zone for differentiating susceptibility and resistance with a 5-micrograms metronidazole disk. Three interpretive categories of susceptibility results were defined; strains with inhibitory zone diameters of more than 26 mm were defined as susceptible (MIC, < 4 micrograms/ml), strains with zone diameters of 20 to 26 mm were deemed intermediate (MIC, 4 to 8 micrograms/ml), and those with zone diameters of less than 20 mm were deemed resistant (MIC, > 8 micrograms/ml). Furthermore, 76 H. pylori-positive patients with duodenal ulcers or nonulcer dyspepsia were treated with a 1 week of triple therapy (colloidal bismuth subcitrate, metronidazole, and tetracycline). H. pylori strains were isolated before treatment from antral biopsies from those patients, and the metronidazole susceptibilities of the strains were determined by the disk diffusion test. H. pylori status was evaluated again 4 weeks after completion of treatment. The eradication rates for susceptible, intermediate, and resistant strains were 95.9% (47 of 49), 62.5% (5 of 8), and 52.6% (10 of 19), respectively. It is included that the 5-micrograms disk diffusion test is easy to perform and gives final results similar to those of the plate dilution method. The three interpretive categories of susceptibility may be of benefit for clinical choice of chemotherapy in eradicating H. pylori.

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