Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Treatment and outcomes of infections by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at an ambulatory clinic.

PMID 17116664


Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) have become increasingly common. This study's objectives were to describe the clinical spectrum of MRSA in a community health center and to determine whether the use of specific antimicrobials correlated with increased probability of clinical resolution of SSTI. A retrospective chart review of 399 sequential cases of culture-confirmed S. aureus SSTI, including 227 cases of MRSA SSTI, among outpatients at Fenway Community Health (Boston, MA) from 1998 to 2005 was done. The proportion of S. aureus SSTI due to MRSA increased significantly from 1998 to 2005 (P<0.0001). Resistance to clindamycin was common (48.2% of isolates). At the beginning of the study period, most patients with MRSA SSTI empirically treated with antibiotics received a beta-lactam, whereas by 2005, 76% received trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) (P<0.0001). Initially, few MRSA isolates were sensitive to the empirical antibiotic, but 77% were susceptible by 2005 (P<0.0001). A significantly higher percentage of patients with MRSA isolates had clinical resolution on the empirical antibiotic by 2005 (P=0.037). Use of an empirical antibiotic to which the clinical isolate was sensitive was associated with increased odds of clinical resolution on empirical therapy (odds ratio=5.91), controlling for incision and drainage and HIV status. MRSA now accounts for the majority of SSTI due to S. aureus at Fenway, and improved rates of clinical resolution on empirical antibiotic therapy have paralleled increasing use of empirical TMP-SMX for these infections. TMP-SMX appears to be an appropriate empirical antibiotic for suspected MRSA SSTI, especially where clindamycin resistance is common.