Association Between Rectal Colonization with Highly Resistant Gram-negative Rods (HRGNRs) and Subsequent Infection with HRGNRs

Rectal colonization with Highly Resistant Gram-negative Rods (HR-GNRs) probably precedes infection. We aimed to assess the association between rectal HR-GNR colonization and subsequent HR-GNR  infection in clinical patients during a follow-up period of one year in a historical cohort study design.

Rectal HR-GNR colonization was assessed by culturing. Subsequent development of infection was determined by assessing all clinical microbiological culture results extracted from the laboratory information system including clinical data regarding HR-GNR infections. A multivariable logistic regression model was constructed with HR-GNR rectal colonization as independent variable and HR-GNR infection as dependent variable. Gender, age, antibiotic use, historic clinical admission and previous (HR-GNR) infections were included as possible confounders.

1133 patients were included of whom 68 patients (6.1%) were colonized with a HR-GNR. In total 22 patients with HR-GNR infections were detected. Urinary tract infections were most common (n = 14, 63.6%), followed by bloodstream infections (n = 5, 22.7%) and other infections (n = 8, 36.4%). Eight out of 68 HR-GNR colonized patients (11.8%) developed a subsequent HR-GNR infection compared to 14 out of 1065 HR-GNR negative patients (1.3%), resulting in an odds ratio (95% CI) of 7.1 (2.8–18.1) in the multivariable logistic regression analyses.

Rectal colonization with a HR-GNR was a significant risk factor for a subsequent HR-GNR infection. This implies that historical colonization culture results should be considered in the choice of empirical antibiotic therapy to include coverage of the cultured HR-GNR, at least in critically ill patients.