A Comprehensive Update on the Problem of Blood Culture Contamination and a Discussion of Methods for Addressing the Problem

Doern GV, Carroll KC, Diekema DJ, Garey KW, Rupp ME, Weinstein MP, Sexton DJ.
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2019 Oct 30;33(1).
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.

  • Multiple studies show an increased use of unnecessary antibiotics with Blood Culture Contamination (BCCs) (34-41% of patients) for approximately ~7 days after the contamination.
  • BCCs result in delays in obtaining the correct diagnosis and initiating appropriate therapy.
  • All six of the cohort studies evaluated demonstrate consistently increased hospital costs or charges associated with blood culture contamination.
  • The authors conclude, “It is our opinion, however, that overall institutional rates of <1% are now achievable, and therefore, consideration should be given to the establishment of a new universal threshold value of <1%.”

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