A retrospective study of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in an Irish neonatal unit

K. O' Connell*, K. Grundy, E. Woolhead, T. Clarke, D. Bennett, M.T. Cafferkey | JNPM 2012;

Abstract:Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection in neonates is associated with a high risk of mortality. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence and epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in our unit. We retrospectively reviewed Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in our neonatal unit at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland over a 7-year period using both laboratory and clinical data. We noted a high incidence of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) bacteraemia of 7.3 per 1,000 admissions. The majority of these (89%) were hospital-acquired and the source was deemed to be venous catheter-related in 47% neonates. Several measures were instituted to address the issue of MSSA bacteraemia on the unit including the introduction of line care bundles and screening for MSSA with decolonisation of carriers. Conclusions: We observed a high incidence of MSSA bacteraemia in our unit correlating with an increasingly busy unit and sub-optimal staffing levels. Root cause analysis revealed inadequate documentation of venous catheter insertion and line maintenance. There was a reduction in the number of MSSA bacteremias in 2010 following multiple interventions. Continued surveillance will reveal in time whether the observed reduction in the number of MSSA bacteremias is sustained.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Karina O’ Connell, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland. Tel.: +353 18093320; E-mail: karinaoconnell@gmail.com.