Risk factors for prolonged carriage of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium among patients in intensive care units: a case-control study

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2011 Aug;66(8):1831-8. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkr204. Epub 2011 Jun 7.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify the risk factors for prolonged carriage of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREF) in intensive care units (ICUs).

Methods: A retrospective case-control study was performed in the ICUs of a university hospital in Korea from September 2006 to July 2009. VREF carriage was identified through weekly active surveillance rectal cultures. Clinical characteristics and the risk factors for VREF acquisition were compared between cases with prolonged VREF carriage (≥ 5 weeks, n = 58) and controls with shorter VREF carriage (<3 weeks, n = 36) in a multivariate logistic regression model. The effect of vancomycin consumption on vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) colonization pressure was investigated using time-series analysis with an autoregressive error model.

Results: Out of a total of 6327 rectal swab cultures examined, 1915 (30.3%) specimens from 266 patients were positive for VREF. The weekly VRE colonization pressure ranged from 0.77% to 42.42%. Vancomycin use after VREF acquisition significantly increased VREF carriage (adjusted odds ratio = 4.09; 95% confidence interval = 1.32-12.65). The case group had higher in-hospital mortality than the control group [21 (36.2%) versus 4 (11.1%), P = 0.007]. Increment of VRE colonization pressure was significantly associated with vancomycin consumption of 1week before (i.e. time t - 1) (P = 0.0028) and moderately associated with that of the corresponding week (i.e. time t) (P = 0.0595).

Conclusions: Vancomycin use in patients with VREF colonization might prolong the duration of carriage. Restriction of vancomycin use should be strengthened in these patients through infection control measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Enterococcus faecium / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus faecium / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Rectum / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use
  • Vancomycin Resistance*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin