PURPOSE: This study evaluated in-house PCR testing for local identification of bacteria carrying the major carbapenemase genes (blaOXA-48-like, blaVIM, blaNDM, blaKPC and blaIMP).
METHODOLOGY: Carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs) isolated from patients managed in two tertiary care hospitals in Scotland from September 2014-January 2017 were investigated. A combination of chromogenic screening agar (ChromID CARBA SMART), a carbapenem hydrolysis test (Rapidec Carba NP) and in-house real-time PCR for the blaOXA-48-like, blaVIM, blaNDM, blaKPC and blaIMP genes were utilized. All isolates were sent to the AMRHAI reference unit for confirmatory testing.
RESULTS: During the 29-month study period 39 CPO were isolated from 34 patients. The average turnaround time for a workflow involving phenotypic and molecular testing was 4.2 days. PCR had a sensitivity and specificity of 100 %. The most common carbapenemase genes were blaOXA-48-like (31%), blaVIM (23%) and blaNDM (20%). Resistance to antimicrobials other than beta-lactams was common; the most active agents were colistin, amikacin and fosfomycin. Twenty-seven patients were considered to be colonized (although CPO detection influenced empiric antimicrobials in five) and a CPO was implicated in infection in seven patients (bacteraemia in immunocompromised patients, n=2; surgical site infections, n=2; osteomyelitis in a patient with diabetes mellitus, n=1; and urinary tract infections, n=2). All patients survived infection.
CONCLUSION: In a lowincidence setting we demonstrate the efficacy of a combined local laboratory workflow for rapid detection of CPOs, incorporating phenotypic and molecular testing. In 7/34 patients the CPO was implicated as a pathogen and detection influenced antimicrobial decision-making in five colonized patients.