Clinical Significance and Burden of CRE Colonization in Hospitalized Patients

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) infections have a significant morbidity and mortality toll. The clinical significance and associated burden of CRE colonization rather than infection state are not frequently investigated. Hassoun-Kheir, et al. (2023) aimed to assess the outcomes of CRE colonized patients compared to matched controls.

A secondary analysis of a 1:2 matched case–control study at a tertiary hospital in northern Israel (January-2014 to June-2017). Cases were adults who newly acquired CRE colonization during hospitalization. Controls were inpatients negatively screened for CRE, matched by age, hospitalization division and total days of hospitalization 90 days prior to screening. The primary outcome was 1-year all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes included 30-day mortality, diagnosis of any clinical infection, overall days of hospital stay and bloodstream infections all in 1-year follow-up. The researchers estimated crude and propensity score weighted estimates for study outcomes.

The researchers included a total of 1019 patients: 340 CRE colonized and 679 non-colonized controls. After adjustment, CRE colonization was not associated with increased 1-year mortality (weighted OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.64–1.50, p = 0.936). CRE colonized patients had 1.7 times the odds of clinical infection of any cause (weighted odds ratio (OR) 1.65, 95% CI 1.06–2.56, p = 0.025). CRE colonized patients had increased length of hospital stay compared to controls (weighted OR 1.52, 95%CI 1.10–2.10, p < 0.001) among 1-year survivors.

CRE colonization may not be independently associated with mortality but with higher risk of clinical infections and longer hospital stays. Infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship are of utmost importance to prevent acquisition and infections in colonized patients.

Reference: Hassoun-Kheir N, et al. Clinical Significance and Burden of CRE Colonization in Hospitalized Patients. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Volume 12, article number 129. (2023)