Assessment of Cost, Morbidity, and Mortality Associated with Blood Culture Contamination

Davis KA, Painter J, Lakkad M, Dare RK
Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 6 (2): S676. October 2019.

  • This is the largest known study evaluating the clinical and financial impact of blood culture contamination (BCC) with inclusion of 1,102 cases and 11,266 controls during a 5-year period.
  • The study is the first reporting increased mortality associated with BCC. It also shows a correlation with increased length of stay (2 days), unnecessary exposure to antibiotics (1.3 days of treatment) and procedures, development of antibiotic-associated adverse events, and higher hospital charges.
  • Clinical outcome measures were significantly higher in patients with false positive test results.
    • Clinical Measure
    • Vancomycin ordered
    • ID consult
    • In-hospital mortality
    • Hospital charges
    • With false positives results
    • 81.3%
    • 16%
    • 8%
    • $36,008
    • With negative results
    • 64.9%
    • 12.9%
    • 4.6%
    • $28,875
  • The authors concluded that the implementation of innovative strategies to reduce contamination should be pursued. Antimicrobial stewardship programs should prioritize identification of contaminants and rapid de-escalation of inappropriate antibiotics to improve patient care.

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