SICU Patients are Not at Special Risk for VRE Acquisition, Researchers Report

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) occur with enhanced frequency in hospitalised patients. This study by Kampmeier, et al. (2018) elucidates the prevalence of VRE on admission among surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients, whether these patients are at special risk for VRE acquisition and which risk factors support this process.

Patients admitted to SICUs of the University Hospital Münster were examined from August to October 2017. VRE screening was performed within 48 hours after admission and directly prior to discharge of patients. In parallel risk factors were recorded to estimate their effect on VRE acquisition during SICU stay.

In total, 374 patients (68% male) with a median age of 66 years were admitted to one of the SICUs during the investigation period. Of all, 336 patients (89.8%) were screened on admission and 268 (71.7%) on discharge. Nine patients were admitted with previously known VRE colonization. Twelve (3.6%) further patients were VRE positive on admission. During ICU stay, eight (3.0%) additional patients turned out to be VRE colonized. Risk factors found to be significantly associated with VRE acquisition were median length of stay on the ICU (14 vs. 3 days; p = 0.01), long-term dialysis (12.5% vs. 2.0% of patients; p = 0.05), and antibiotic treatment with flucloxacillin (28.6% vs. 7.2% of patients; p = 0.01) or piperacillin/tazobactam (57.1% vs. 26.6% of patients; p = 0.01).

The researchers concluded that SICU patients are not at special risk for VRE acquisition. Previous stay on a SICU should therefore not be considered as specific risk factor for VRE colonization.

Reference: Kampmeier S, et al. Hospital acquired vancomycin resistant enterococci in surgical intensive care patients – a prospective longitudinal study. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2018;7:103