Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Epidemiology, treatment and outcome of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and endocarditis

Eeva Ruotsalainen

Doctoral dissertation, November 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Helsinki University Central Hospital.

Staphylococcus aureus is the second most common bloodstream isolate both in community- and hospital-acquired bacteremias. The clinical course of S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) is determined by its complications, particularly by the development of deep infections and thromboembolic events. Despite the progress of antimicrobial therapy, SAB is still associated with high mortality. However, injection drug users (IDUs) tend to have fewer complications and better prognosis than nonaddicts, especially in endocarditis. The present study was undertaken to investigate epidemiology, treatment and outcome of S. aureus bacteremia and endocarditis in Finland. In particular, differences in bacterial strains and their virulence factors, and host immune responses were compared between IDUs and nonaddicts.

In Finland, 5045 SAB cases during 1995-2001 were included using the National Infectious Disease Register maintained by National Public Health Institute. The annual incidence of SAB increased, especially in elderly. While the increase in incidence may partly be explained by better reporting, it most likely reflects a growing population at risk, affected by such factors as age and/or severe comorbidity. Nosocomial infections accounted for 51% of cases, with no change in their proportion during the study period. The 28-day mortality was 17% and remained unchanged over time.

A total of 381 patients with SAB were randomized to receive either standard antibiotic treatment or levofloxacin added to standard treatment. Levofloxacin combination therapy did not decrease the mortality, lower the incidence of deep infections, nor did it speed up the recovery during 3 months follow-up. However, patients with a deep infection appeared to benefit from combination therapy with rifampicin, as suggested also by experimental data. Deep infections were found in 84% of SAB patients within one week after randomization, and they appeared to be more common than previously reported.

Endocarditis was observed in 74 of 430 patients (17%) with SAB, of whom 20 were IDUs and 54 nonaddicts. Right-sided involvement was diagnosed in 60% of addicts whereas 93% of nonaddicts had left-sided endocarditis. Unexpectedly, IDUs showed extracardiac deep infections, thromboembolic events and severe sepsis with the same frequency as nonaddicts. The prognosis of endocarditis was better among addicts due to their younger age and lack of underlying diseases in agreement with earlier reports.

In total, all 44 IDUs with SAB were included and 20 of them had endocarditis. An equal number of nonaddicts with SAB were chosen as group matched controls. Serological tests were not helpful in identifying patients with a deep infection. No individual S. aureus strain dominated in endocarditis among addicts. Characterization of the virulence factors of bacterial strains did not reveal any significant differences in IDUs and nonaddicts.

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Last updated 31.10.2006

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