Background: There are limited data on the treatment of blood stream infections (BSIs) in patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Current guidance recommends documenting clearance only in fungal and Gram-positive BSIs. This study investigates the incidence and clinical significance of blood stream infections with positive repeat cultures (BSIPRC) in ECMO as well as clinical factors that may predict positive repeat cultures. Methods: All BSIs in patients receiving ECMO at Brooke Army Medical Center between September 2012 and October 2021 were included in this study. BSIPRC was defined as re-isolation of the same organism on repeat blood cultures following an initial positive blood culture. Results: A total of 60 patients developed 87 BSI (38.5 BSI per 1000 ECMO days). Of the 80 (92%) BSIs who had repeat blood cultures drawn, patients had BSIPRC in 35 (44%) of cases. Fever, leukocytosis, and vasopressor requirement on day of repeat culture were not associated with persistent positivity. There was no difference in survival to discharge for patients with BSIPRC as compared to single day BSI (58% vs. 63%, p = 0.78). 19% of patients with Gram-negative bacteremia had BSIPRC, and gram-negative bacteremia in general was associated with an 83% morality. Conclusions: There were no clinical findings that differentiated patients with BSIPRC from those who had a single day of positivity. BSI was associated with high mortality in patients with Gram-negative bacteremia. Given high incidence of positive repeat cultures being seen in Gram-negative BSIs, repeat blood cultures have utility for all BSIs in patients receiving ECMO.
- Blood stream infection