Several studies have evaluated the impact of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) combined with antimicrobial stewardship in patients with positive blood cultures; clinical outcomes improved. However, in many hospitals, antimicrobial stewardship is not available because of restricted medical resources. Thus, we investigated the impact of evaluation by MALDI-TOF MS on the clinical outcomes of patients with bacteremia and fungemia treated in a clinical setting lacking an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP).
We designed a pre–post quasi experimental study and retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients aged > 18 years old with bacteremia and fungemia during two periods: October–December 2012 and October–December 2013. Conventional methods were used to detect microbial pathogens in 2012, and MALDI-TOF MS was employed in 2013. Clinical outcomes compared between periods were the time to pathogen identification, time to effective therapy, 30-day all-cause mortality, time to microbiological clearance, length of ICU stay, and rate of recurrence of the same bloodstream infection (BSI).
A total of 556 patients were enrolled; 302 patients in 2012, and 254 in 2013. The use of MALDI-TOF MS without an ASP reduced the time to pathogen identification (86.4 vs. 63.5 h, P < 0.001) but did not significantly reduce the time to effective therapy (27.4 vs. 23.2 h, P = 0.187). Also, none of the following differed significantly between the two periods: mortality (17.5 vs. 15.7%, P = 0.571), the time to microbiological clearance (3.6 vs. 3.7 days, P = 0.675), the length of ICU stay (16.8 vs. 14.7 days, P = 0.706), and the recurrence rate of the same BSI (5.0 vs. 2.8%, P = 0.183).
The use of MALDI-TOF MS alone in a setting lacking an ASP did not afford clinical benefits. An ASP combined with MALDI-TOF MS is necessary to improve clinical outcomes.