Prevalence of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms on Palliative Care Patients in a University Hospital-Bound Palliative Care Unit: A Prospective Cohort Analysis

Palliative Medicine 2020, Vol 34(6):776-783 (Editor's Choice)

Each month, one article from Palliative Medicine, the EAPC's official research journal, is selected as 'Editor's choice' and the author invited to contribute a short post to the EAPC blog explaining the background to the full article in the journal. This month's 'Editor's choice' is described below with access to the free PDF version.  (You can also read the blog post version here)

Background: Multidrug-resistant organisms are a growing challenge and burden to patient care. To date, there are only data concerning the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections. Thus, numbers of other multidrug-resistant organisms can only be extrapolated and inferred from more or less comparable cohorts.

Aim: To evaluate the prevalence of multidrug-resistant organisms on palliative care in-patients.

Design: A prospective cohort analysis.

Setting/participants: A University Hospital-bound palliative care unit, in which all patients admitted to the unit were screened for inclusion.

Results: In total, 304 patients were included in this study. The prevalence for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus of 5.2% (95% confidence interval: 2.9%-8.4%), for vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium of 10.5% (95% confidence interval: 7.2%-14.8%), for Ciprofloxacin-resistant-extended spectrum beta-lactamases isolates of 5.8% (95% confidence interval: 3.4%-9.3%) and Ciprofloxacin-resistant Carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria of 0.3% (95% confidence interval: 0%-1.3%) was calculated. Except for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, patients carrying a multidrug-resistant organism had a significant longer duration of hospitalization. Median length of stay was 12 days (interquartile range: 14.5, no multidrug-resistant organisms), 14.5 days (interquartile range: 15, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), 21 days (interquartile range: 16.5, vancomycin-resistant enterococci), 22 days (interquartile range: 20.75, Ciprofloxacin-resistant-extended spectrum beta-lactamases) and 32 days (interquartile range: 22.00) for patients carrying two organisms.

Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of all multidrug-resistant organisms within the hospitalized palliative care patients. However, the multidrug-resistant organisms do not seem to impact the survival within this cohort. Further studies should evaluate additional end-points, for example, quality of life, which are of special interest in this cohort.

Keywords: Palliative care; cohort studies; drug resistance; microbial; terminal care.

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