The utility of anaerobic blood culturing is often debated in the general population, but there is limited data on the modern incidence, microbiology, and utility of obtaining routine anaerobic blood cultures for burned patients. We performed a retrospective review of the burned patients electronic medical records database for all blood cultures drawn between January 1997 and September 2005. We assessed blood cultures for positivity, organisms identified, and growth in aerobic or anaerobic media. 85,103 blood culture sets were drawn, with 4059 sets from burned patients. Three hundred and forty-five single species events (619 total blood culture isolates) were noted in 240 burned patients. For burned patients, four isolates were obligate anaerobic bacteria (all Propionibacterium acnes). Anaerobic versus aerobic culture growth was recorded in 310 of 619 (50.1%) burned patient blood culture sets. 46 (13.5%) of the identified organisms, most of which were not obligate anaerobic bacteria, were identified from solely anaerobic media. The results of our study suggest that the detection of significant anaerobic bacteremia in burned patients is very rare and that anaerobic bottles are not needed in this population for that indication. However anaerobic blood cultures systems are also able to detect facultative and obligate aerobic bacteria; therefore, the deletion of the anaerobic culture medium may have deleterious clinical impact.
- Blood cultures
- Burn patients