Active identification of patients who are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonized is not associated with longer duration of vancomycin therapy


      Excessive prescribing of vancomycin among patients admitted to inpatient wards is a challenge for antimicrobial stewardship programs, especially in the setting of expanded screening programs for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Studies examining factors associated with longer duration of vancomycin use are limited.


      We conducted a retrospective cohort study to assess the impact of universal MRSA admission screening on duration of vancomycin use at the VA Boston Healthcare System during the period from January 2013-November 2015.


      A total of 2,910 patients were administered intravenous vancomycin during the study period. A clinical culture positive for MRSA was strongly associated with vancomycin administration lasting >72 hours (odds ratio [OR], 2.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.86-3.97; P < .001). After controlling for clinical culture results, admission MRSA colonization was not associated with vancomycin use past 72 hours (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.8-1.1). A negative MRSA nasal swab on admission had a high negative predictive value for all MRSA infections evaluated (99.6% for pneumonia, 99.6% for bloodstream infection, and 98.1% for skin and soft tissue infection).


      Admission surveillance for MRSA nasal colonization is not a major driver of prolonged vancomycin use. A negative admission MRSA nasal screen may be a useful tool for antimicrobial stewardship programs to limit vancomycin use, particularly in noncritically ill patients.

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