Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Jul;36(7):1923-6.

Blood cultures positive for coagulase-negative staphylococci: antisepsis, pseudobacteremia, and therapy of patients.

Author information

Internal Medicine Spokane, Washington 99204, USA.


A blood culture cohort study investigating issues related to isolation of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and other skin microflora is reported. Data were collected over 12 weeks to determine the incidence of significant CoNS bacteremia versus that of pseudobacteremia (contaminants) and to evaluate drug therapy in patients with cultures positive for CoNS. In addition, the effectiveness of 0.2% chlorine peroxide as a bactericidal disinfectant was compared to that of 10% providone iodine. A total of 3,276 cultures of blood from 1,433 patients were evaluated in the study. Eighty-nine cultures were positive for skin flora, with 81 of 89 (91%) involving CoNS. The incidence of significant CoNS bacteremia was 20 of 81 (24.7%), that of indeterminate bacteremia was 10 of 81 (12.3%), and that of contamination was 59 of 81 (72.8%). The incidence of significant bacteremia involving CoNS was double the 10 to 12% rate based on previous estimations at our institutions. In tests with the two bactericidal disinfectants, 22 of 1,639 cultures (1.3%) in the chlorine peroxide group versus 37 of 1,637 (2.3%) in the providone iodine group were considered contaminated (P = 0.065). Rates of contamination for venipuncture versus catheter collection were not significantly different (P = 0.46). The overall contamination rate was 59 of 3,276 (1.8%), which is consistent with the lower end of published quality assurance benchmark standards. The low rate was believed to be due to the professional phlebotomy staff in our institutions. There was excellent agreement between retrospective analysis by reviewers, when formal criteria were used, and the attending physicians' intuitive clinical impressions in the classification of significant bloodstream infections (100% agreement) or contamination (95% agreement). However, physicians still used antimicrobial agents to treat nearly one-half of the patients with contaminated blood cultures, with vancomycin being misused in 34% of patients. In addition, 10% of patients with significant bacteremia were treated with inappropriate agents. There were no significant adverse events or prolonged hospital stays due to the unnecessary use of vancomycin; however, the additional costs of treating patients whose cultures contained CoNS contaminants was estimated to be $1,000 per patient. Measures to limit the unnecessary use of vancomycin (and other agents) are important.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

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