Background: Guidelines for the control of hospital-acquired MRSA include decolonization measures to end MRSA carrier status in colonized and infected patients. Successful decolonization typically requires up to 22 days of treatment, which is longer than the average hospital length of stay (LOS). Incomplete decolonization is therefore common, with long-term MRSA carriage as a consequence. To overcome this, we developed an integrated MRSA Management (IMM) by extending MRSA decolonization to the outpatient and domestic setting. The protocol makes use of polyhexanide-based products, in view of reported qac-mediated resistance to chlorhexidine in S. aureus and MRSA.
Methods: This is a prospective, single centre, controlled, non-randomized, open-label study to evaluate the efficiency of the IMM concept. The outcome of guideline-approved decolonization during hospital stay only (control group; n = 201) was compared to the outcome following IMM treatment whereby decolonization was continued after discharge in the domestic setting or in a long-term care facility (study group; n = 99). As a secondary outcome, the effect of MRSA-status of skin alterations was assessed.
Results: The overall decolonization rate was 47 % in the IMM patient group compared to 12 % in the control group (p < 0.01). The continued treatment after hospital discharge was as effective as treatment completed during hospitalization, with microbiologically-confirmed decolonization (patients with completed regimes only) obtained with 55 % for the IMM group and 43 % for the control group (p > 0.05). For patients with skin alterations (e.g. wounds and entry sites), decolonization success was 50 % if the skin alterations were MRSA-negative at baseline, compared to 22 % success for patients entering the study with MRSA-positive skin alterations (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: The IMM strategy offers an MRSA decolonization protocol that is feasible in the domestic setting and is equally effective compared with inpatient decolonization treatment when hospital LOS is long enough to complete the treatment. Moreover, for patients with average LOS, decolonization rates obtained with IMM are significantly higher than for in-hospital treatment. IMM is a promising concept to improve decolonization rates of MRSA-carriers for patients who leave the hospital before decolonization is completed.
Keywords: Decolonization; Domestic; Hospital; LOS; Length of stay; Long-term care; MRSA; Methicillin resistance; Polyhexanide.