Nosocomial MRSA infection in vascular surgery patients: impact on patient outcome

Scott E Cowie, Irene Ma, Susan K Lee, R Matthew Smith, York N Hsiang
Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 2005, 39 (4): 327-34
Although methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is a worldwide problem, data on its significance among vascular surgery patients remain scant and conflicting. This study was designed to evaluate the association between nosocomial MRSA infection and patient outcome following vascular surgery procedures. Outcomes among patients with MRSA infection were also compared to those infected with methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). All patients admitted to a tertiary care Vascular Surgery ward during the year 2002 were included in this retrospective review. In addition to information on demographic and comorbid conditions, data on surgical interventions, nosocomial infection incidence rates as defined by the Center for Disease Control guidelines, and MRSA screening results were collected. Primary outcome was in-hospital death. Secondary outcomes measures included length of hospital stay, readmissions, or repeat surgeries, and ICU admissions. Of a total of 408 subjects, 110 were documented with a nosocomial infection (27.0%). Of these, 16 patients (3.9%) were colonized with MRSA on screening at time of admission, 22 (5.4%) had acquired MRSA infection during hospitalization, and 15 (3.7%) had MSSA infection. Patients with MRSA, MSSA, and non-MRSA infection had similar baseline characteristics except for hypertension and tobacco use. Age and MRSA infection were significant risk factors for in-hospital deaths (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01-1.13, p = 0.01 and OR 7.44, 95% CI 1.63-33.9, p = 0.01, respectively). Adjusted for the effects of age, MRSA infection remained a significant independent risk factor associated with in-hospital deaths (OR 4.38, 95% CI 1.09-17.7, p = 0.04). After adjustment for baseline risk factors, MRSA infection was also independently associated with secondary outcome measures. Although risks of non-MRSA infections were also associated with adverse outcomes in the multivariate analyses, MRSA posed higher risks, as reflected by higher odds ratio in all instances. The 22 patients with documented MRSA infection had significantly longer hospital stays than those with MSSA infection (median 24 days vs 8 days, p = 0.02). However, no significant differences were noted between the 2 groups in terms of secondary outcome. These results show that MRSA infection is a significant risk factor for adverse clinical outcomes among patients undergoing vascular surgery procedures. Infection with MRSA results in a greater risk of these outcomes when compared with non-MRSA infection. However, despite concerns regarding the virulence of this strain of staphylococcus, patients infected with MRSA had no higher rates of morbidity or mortality except for increased length of hospital stay when compared to patients with MSSA.

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