Surveillance cultures in intensive care units: A nationwide survey on current practice providing future perspectives

J.B.J. Scholte*, W.N.K.A. van Mook, C.F.M. Linssen, H.A. van Dessel, D.C.J.J. Bergmans, P.H.M. Savelkoul, P.M.H.J. Roekaerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To explore the extent of surveillance culture (SC) implementation underlying motives for obtaining SC and decision making based on the results. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to Heads of Department (HODs) and microbiologists within all intensive care departments in the Netherlands. Results: Response was provided by 75 (79%) of 95 HODs and 38 (64%) of 59 laboratories allied to an intensive care unit (ICU). Surveillance cultures were routinely obtained according to 55 (73%) of 75 HODs and 33 (87%) of 38 microbiologists. Surveillance cultures were obtained in more than 80% of higher-level ICUs and in 58% of lower-level ICUs (P <.05). Surveillance cultures were obtained twice weekly (88%) and sampled from trachea (87%), pharynx (74%), and rectum (68%). Thirty (58%) of 52 HODs obtained SC to optimize individual patient treatment. On suspicion of infection from an unknown source, microorganisms identified by SC were targeted according to 87%. One third of HODs targeted microorganisms identified by SC in the case of an infection not at the location where the SC was obtained. This was significantly more often than microbiologists in case of no infection (P = .02) or infection of unknown origin (P <.05). Conclusions: Surveillance culture implementation is common in Dutch ICUs to optimize individual patients' treatment. Consensus is lacking on how to deal with SC results when the focus of infection is not at the sampled site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885.e7-885.e12
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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