Controlled clinical comparison of BacT/ALERT standard aerobic medium with BACTEC standard aerobic medium for culturing blood.
Standard aerobic media are widely used for culturing blood with the BacT/ALERT (BioMérieux, Inc., Durham, N.C.) (BM) and BACTEC 9240 (BD Diagnostic Systems, Sparks, Md.) (BD) automated continuously monitoring instrument systems. Although similarly composed of soybean-casein digest broths, the formulations of the standard aerobic media available for these instruments differ from each other in supplements and in sodium polyanetholesulfonate concentration. Therefore, we compared the standard aerobic media available for these systems at two university hospitals. Blood samples from adult patients with suspected bloodstream infection were inoculated at the bedside into nonvented BM and BD standard aerobic blood culture bottles and incubated in their respective instruments. The laboratories received 6,743 pairs of bottles that were each filled with 8 to 12 ml of blood. A total of 523 isolates representing true infections were recovered from 257 patients; of these isolates, 348 were recovered from both the BD and the BM bottles, 108 were recovered from the BM bottles only, and 67 were recovered from the BD bottles only (P < 0.005). More staphylococci (P < 0.05), especially coagulase-negative staphylococci (P < 0.05), and yeasts (P < 0.01) were recovered from BM bottles than from BD bottles. Of 291 unimicrobial episodes of bloodstream infection, 220 were detected with both bottles, 41 were detected with the BM bottles only, and 30 were detected with the BD bottles only (difference not significant). Among 335 cultures that were positive in both bottles within the first 72 h of incubation, the median times to detection were 14 h for BM bottles and 13 h for BD bottles. Rates for false-positive results were 0.5% for BM bottles and 0.1% for BD bottles. One BM bottle and seven BD bottles yielded false-negative results. We conclude that the BM medium provides improved recovery of microorganisms, especially staphylococci and yeasts, compared with that provided by the BD medium.
Mirrett, S; Reller, LB; Petti, CA; Woods, CW; Vazirani, B; Sivadas, R; Weinstein, MP
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