Optimizing Treatment of Hand Infections: Is MRSA Coverage Always Necessary?

Jeremie D Oliver, Brian C Pridgen, Heather E desJardins-Park, Catherine Curtin, Paige M Fox
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Global Open 2021, 9 (6): e3619

Multiple publications have highlighted the prevalence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a cause of hand infections. We hypothesized that these publications have shifted the empiric treatment of hand infections. The aim of this study was to identify the current standard of care, the most common causative bacteria, and factors leading to extended length of stay for hand infection patients at a suburban hospital to improve treatment and establish an optimized care protocol.

Methods: Retrospective cohort analysis was conducted to identify all patients admitted for hand infections over an 8-year period. A comprehensive chart review of each patient's hospital course was completed.

Results: A total of 70 patients were included. Maximum white blood cell count ≥ 12 was associated with a significantly longer hospital length of stay (9.1 days versus 5.4 days) compared to WBC values < 12 ( P < 0.05). Also, 11 out of 23 (47.8%) underwent two or more incision and drainages (I&D's), compared with patients with maximum WBC < 12. Vancomycin use as an empiric antibiotic was widespread (68 patients, 97.1%), despite only 14 (20%) having MRSA positive cultures. Univariate analysis identified a significant increased likelihood for increased length of stay ( P < 0.05) and rise in creatinine ( P < 0.05) in patients with an initial vancomycin trough level > 20.

Conclusions: This analysis of hand infection treatment in a suburban hospital demonstrates the incidence of MRSA hand infections may not be universally high across institutions. Each hospital should review its own data to optimize hand infection treatment and its associated costs.

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