Treatment and outcome of gram-positive bacteremia in patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Joseph E. Marcus*, Mary B. Ford, Lauren A. Sattler, Sonia Iqbal, Chelsea L. Garner, Michal J. Sobieszczyk, Alice E. Barsoumian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: While guidance exists for management of blood stream infections with various invasive devices, there are currently limited data to guide antibiotic selection and duration for bacteremia in patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Objective: To evaluate the treatment and outcomes of thirty-six patients with Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus bacteremia on ECMO support. Methods: Blood culture data was retrospectively analyzed from patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) or Enterococcus bacteremia who underwent ECMO support between March 2012 and September 2021 at Brooke Army Medical Center. Results: Of the 282 patients who received ECMO during this study period, there 25 (9%) patients developed Enterococcus bacteremia and 16 (6%) developed SAB. SAB occurred earlier in ECMO as compared to Enterococcus (median day 2 IQR (1–5) vs. 22 (12–51), p = 0.01). The most common duration of antibiotics was 28 days after clearance for SAB and 14 days after clearance for Enterococcus. 2 (5%) patients underwent cannula exchange with primary bacteremia, and 7 (17%) underwent circuit exchange. 1/3 (33%) patients with SAB and 3/10 (30%) patients with Enterococcus bacteremia who remained cannulated after completion of antibiotics had a second episode of SAB or Enterococcus bacteremia. Conclusion: This single center case series is the first to describe the specific treatment and outcomes of patients receiving ECMO complicated by SAB and Enterococcus bacteremia. For patients who remain on ECMO after completion of antibiotics, there is a risk of a second episode of Enterococcus bacteremia or SAB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalHeart and Lung
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Enterococcus bacteremia
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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