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J Clin Microbiol. 1996 Sep;34(9):2180-4.

Clinical importance of increased sensitivity of BacT/Alert FAN aerobic and anaerobic blood culture bottles.

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Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Two recent multicenter blood culture studies found that BacT/Alert FAN (FAN) bottles (Organon Teknika, Durham, N.C.) had increased yields in detecting bacteremia and fungemia compared with standard BacT/Alert (STD) bottles. Because the clinical importance of this increase in microbial recovery is unknown, we performed a retrospective analysis to determine the frequency with which FAN bottles were the sole means of detecting an episode of bacteremia. There were 1,047 positive blood cultures in which both study bottles were adequately filled and the organism isolated was judged to be the cause of sepsis: 240 (23%) were positive only in FAN bottles and 73 (7%) were positive only in STD bottles. Of a total of 664 episodes of bacteremia, 126 (19%) were identified only by FAN bottles and 43 (7%) were identified only by STD bottles (P < 0.0001). Episodes detected only by FAN bottles more often were recurrent events (23 of 126, or 18%) than episodes detected only by STD bottles (2 of 43, or 5%) (P < 0.05) and more commonly occurred in patients receiving theoretically effective antibiotic therapy (33 of 126 [26%] versus 4 of 43 [9%]) (P < 0.05). The medical records for patients with 127 of these episodes (92 FAN bottles only; 35 STD bottles only) were available for review. More than half of both FAN bottle-only (60 of 92, or 65%) and STD bottle-only (20 of 35, or 57%) episodes were judged to be clinically important. We conclude that FAN bottles improve the detection of bacteremia and that the majority of the additional episodes detected are clinically important. The benefits of the greater yield in specific patient populations must be balanced against the higher costs of FAN bottles.

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