Epidemiology and clinical significance of persistent bacteremia in severely burned patients

Joseph E Marcus, Lisa C Townsend, Julie A. Rizzo, K Aden James, Ana E Markelz, Dana M Blyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The utility of follow-up blood cultures (FUBC) for gram-negative bloodstream infections (BSIs) are controversial due to low rates of positivity. However, recent studies suggest higher rates of positivity in critically ill patients. The utility of FUBC in gram-negative BSI in patients with severe burn injuries is unknown.

METHODS: Patients ≥ 18 years old admitted to the US Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center for combat-related thermal burns from 1/2003-6/2014 with a monomicrobial BSI were included. FUBC were defined as repeat cultures 1-5 days from index BSI. Persistent BSI (pBSI) was defined as isolation of the same organism from initial and FUBC. The primary endpoint was all-cause in-hospital mortality in patients with gram-negative pBSI.

RESULTS: Of 126 patients meeting inclusion criteria with BSI, 53 (42%) had pBSI. Compared to patients without persistence, patients with pBSI had more severe burns with median total body surface area (TBSA) burns of 47% ([IQR 34-63] vs. 35.3% [IQR 23.3-56.6], p = 0.02), increased mortality (38 vs. 11%, p = 0.001) compared to those with non-persistent BSI. On multivariate analysis, pBSI was associated with an odds ratio for mortality of 5.3 [95% CI 1.8-15.8, p = 0.003). Amongst gram-negative pathogens, persistence rates were high and associated with increased mortality (41% vs. 11%, p = 0.001) compared to patients without pBSI.

CONCLUSION: In this cohort of military patients with combat-related severe burns, pBSI was more common than in other hospitalized populations and associated with increased mortality. Given this high frequency of persistence in patients with burn injuries and associated mortality, FUBC are an important diagnostic and prognostic study in this population.

Original languageEnglish
StateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidemiology and clinical significance of persistent bacteremia in severely burned patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this