In order to compare imipenem-sensitive and -resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains isolated from three patients, ribotyping, plasmid, beta-lactamase detection and outer-membrane analysis were performed. Ribotyping and the use of a beta-lactam during the period when the strains were isolated suggested that they had a common origin and that resistance occurred in vivo. Outer membrane analysis showed no difference between susceptible and resistant strains with the exception of an A2 imipenem-resistant strain that lost a protein band of 31-36 kDa. Beta-lactamases were detected using isoelectric focusing in all strains (pI of 7.4). In addition, two beta-lactamases (pI of 5.9 and 6.7) were found in imipenem-resistant isolates. The double-disc technique demonstrated the presence of a beta-lactamase capable of imipenem inactivation in resistant strains. Plasmid analysis showed that all susceptible strains had the same pattern, one resistant strain did not have any plasmid, one had the same plasmid pattern of its susceptible pair and only one had a different pattern when compared with its susceptible pair.