Evaluation of a modified protocol that decreases the turnaround time of positive blood cultures

  • Renuka Anegundi Department of Microbiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Karnataka, India
  • Raghavendra Dheerendra Kulkarni Department of Microbiology, SDM College of Medical Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, Karnataka, India
  • Satish S Patil Department of Microbiology, SS Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Davangere, Karnataka, India
  • Vidyavathi B Chitharagi Department of Microbiology, JSS Medical College, Mysore, Karnataka, India
  • Ganavalli Subramanya Ajantha Department of Microbiology, SDM College of Medical Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, Karnataka, India
Modified protocol, Automated blood culture, Neonatal septicemia


Background and Objectives: Neonatal septicemia can be rapidly fatal if not treated promptly. A speedy laboratory diagnosis would improve the outcome. The BacT/ALERT 3D system (bioMerieux, Durham, North Carolina) is currently being used for laboratory diagnosis of blood stream infections. In the present study, a modified protocol was employed in which the broth was subcultured into two nutrient broth tubes and these tubes were used for biochemical tests and antimicrobial susceptibility testing to decrease the turnaround time.

Materials and Methods: A prospective study was conducted in the Department of Microbiology, SDM College of Medical Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad from October 2010 to July 2012 after receiving clearance from the institutional ethics committee. Automated blood cultures of 250 neonates admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), clinically diagnosed to have septicemia, were performed using BacT/ALERT 3D. Bottles flagged positive within 72 hours of loading were processed for identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing using a modified protocol. The results were assessed for time saved in reporting in comparison with standard protocol. Student’s t test was used for statistical analysis.

Results: Of the 250 cases studied, 117 cases yielded a positive blood culture giving a yield of 46.8%. The number of cases yielding monomicrobial growth were 73, which were included for further analysis. Of the remaining samples, 133 did not show growth, 11 were polymicrobial while 33 samples were flagged positive after 72 hours. Candida spp. grew in 34 cases, Gram negative bacilli grew in 28 cases and Gram positive cocci grew in 11 cases. In four cases, 66 hours were saved, 60 and 54 hours were saved in 18 cases each, 48 hours were saved in 27 cases, and 24 hours were saved in 6 cases. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae were the most common isolates among Gram positive cocci and Gram negative bacilli, respectively, while C. guilliermondii was the most common Candida isolate. All Gram positive isolates were susceptible to vancomycin and linezolid. Most of the Gram negative isolates were susceptible to imipenem.

Conclusion: This method can be employed in peripheral laboratory settings where there is no complete automation. Modification in processing blood culture can provide speedy identification and sensitivity report in blood stream infections. Time saved in reporting would play a crucial role in improving morbidity and mortality rates in neonatal septicemia.


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How to Cite
Anegundi R, Kulkarni R, Patil S, Chitharagi V, Ajantha G. Evaluation of a modified protocol that decreases the turnaround time of positive blood cultures. Iran J Microbiol. 10(5):281-286.
Original Article(s)