Research Article

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: 400 episodes in St Thomas's Hospital.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 28 January 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:300
  1. W R Gransden,
  2. S J Eykyn,
  3. I Phillips


    Four hundred episodes of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia occurred in St Thomas's Hospital from 1969 to 1983, accounting for 17.5% of all episodes of bacteraemia. The mortality was 24%, half attributable to underlying disease, and was highest in patients over 50. Almost 60% of the bacteraemias were acquired in hospital, and the source of the organism was generally obvious, with vascular access sites the most common (37%). Bone and joint infections accounted for 11.5% of episodes and endocarditis for 7%. Most staphylococci were resistant to penicillin only; three isolates were resistant to methicillin and five to fusidic acid. Microbiologists seldom influenced directly the choice of initial antibiotic treatment (though this usually conformed to the hospital's antibiotic prescribing policy) but had considerable influence over definitive treatment, usually cloxacillin or flucloxacillin alone or in combination with fusidic acid. S aureus bacteraemia is easy to identify and treat, though underlying disease may influence the outcome. Efforts should be made to prevent the largely iatrogenic disease.