Less commonly prescribed antibiotic may be better

August 16, 2012

The antibiotic most commonly prescribed to treat bloodstream infections in dialysis patients may not always be the best choice, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

When Staphylococcus aureus bacteria gain access to a patient's bloodstream, the infection then becomes life threatening. Antibiotics can often cure this infection, but without any , more than 80% of patients with are likely to die. But what's the most appropriate antibiotic to use?

Kevin Chan, MD (Fresenius Medical Care North America and Massachusetts General Hospital) and his colleagues compared the effectiveness of various antibiotics at preventing hospitalization and death from bloodstream infection. They reviewed more than 500,000 blood culture results from their database, looking for methicillin-sensitive strains of S. aureus bloodstream infection. They also identified when physicians used or cefazolin to treat these infections. Vancomycin is often perceived as the better antibiotic because it has broad coverage against many strains of bacteria; however, other factors like the antibiotic's killing power and tissue penetration are also important factors in selecting the best treatment.

Among the major findings:

  • 56% of patients remained on vancomycin after blood culture results reported S. aureus bacteria were susceptible to cefazolin, while only 17% were treated with cefazolin.
  • Cefazolin-treated patients experienced a 38% lower rate of hospitalization and death compared with vancomycin-treated patients.
  • Cefazolin-treated patients also had a 48% lower rate of sepsis, which is the most serious form of bloodstream infection.
"I think the data suggest there is an opportunity to improve outcomes for patients through appropriate antibiotic selection," said Dr. Chan.

Explore further: Researchers closer to the super bug puzzle

More information: The article, entitled "Prevalence and Outcomes of Antimicrobial Treatment for Staphylococcus Aureus Bloodstream Infection in Outpatients with End-Stage Renal Disease," will appear online on August 16, 2012, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012010050

Related Stories

Researchers closer to the super bug puzzle

November 11, 2011

Infectious diseases specialists from Austin Health are working closely with Microbiologists from the University of Melbourne to understand how Staph is becoming resistant to all antibiotic therapies.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.