Objective: To estimate the incidence of puerperal mastitis requiring hospital admission and to describe demographic and obstetric risk factors for this condition. We also sought to identify trends in bacteriology among isolates obtained from breast abscesses and breast-milk aspirates, with a focus on treatment strategies used for community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Methods: Patients with puerperal mastitis who were admitted to a county-based teaching hospital between January 1997 and December 2005 were identified by International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, codes (675.1, 675.2). Data collected included demographic characteristics, clinical presentation, treatment, duration of admission, premorbid antibiotic exposure, and bacteriology. Demographic variables and obstetric outcomes were compared with all other pregnant women delivered at our hospital.
Results: One hundred twenty-seven of 136,459 women delivered at our teaching hospital were admitted for puerperal mastitis (9.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 7.8-11.1] per 10,000 deliveries). The incidence of mastitis only during the study period was 6.7 (95% CI 5.4-8.3) per 10,000 deliveries, and the incidence of mastitis with breast abscess was 2.6 (95% CI 1.8-3.6) per 10,000 deliveries. Puerperal mastitis was significantly associated with younger women (23.4 years compared with 25.1 years, P<.001) and decreased parity (P=.02). Clinically significant breast abscess (n=35, 28%) was seen most commonly with community-acquired MRSA (n=18, 67%) during the data-collection period. The majority (15 [56%]) of women with culture-proven MRSA did not receive antibiotic therapy to which this organism was sensitive. They were discharged without complication, and there were no treatment failures.
Conclusion: Community-acquired MRSA was most commonly associated with breast abscess. The empiric use of antibiotics ineffective against community-acquired MRSA did not adversely affect the outcomes in this study.