This study assesses the clinical relevance of vancomycin-susceptible enterococci in bacteremic patients and compares it with bacteremia due to Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
During a 5-year-study interval, clinical and diagnostic features of patients with enterococcal bacteremia were compared to those of patients with E. coli or S. aureus bacteremia. Each patient was only counted once per hospital stay.
During the 5-year study interval, data from 267 patients with enterococcal bacteremia and from 661 patients with bacteremia due to E. coli or S. aureus were evaluated. In spite of a comparable risk of death, patients with enterococci more frequently needed catecholamines and invasive ventilation. Furthermore, enterococci were more frequently associated with a mixed bacterial flora in bloodstream infections. While fatal sepsis due to E. coli and S. aureus was associated with typical shock symptoms, this association was not confirmed for enterococci.
Although enterococcal bacteremia is associated with a risk of dying comparable to that with bacteremia due to E. coli and S. aureus, a lower pathogenic potential of enterococci in bloodstream has to be acknowledged. Enterococci in the bloodstream are more likely to be an epiphenomenon of impending death than its major cause.
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