The Clinical Utility of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Nasal Screening to Rule Out MRSA Pneumonia: A Diagnostic Meta-analysis With Antimicrobial Stewardship Implications

Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Jun 18;67(1):1-7. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy024.


Background: Recent literature has highlighted methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal screening as a possible antimicrobial stewardship program tool for avoiding unnecessary empiric MRSA therapy for pneumonia, yet current guidelines recommend MRSA therapy based on risk factors. The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the diagnostic value of MRSA nasal screening in MRSA pneumonia.

Methods: PubMed and EMBASE were searched from inception to November 2016 for English studies evaluating MRSA nasal screening and development of MRSA pneumonia. Data analysis was performed using a bivariate random-effects model to estimate pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV).

Results: Twenty-two studies, comprising 5163 patients, met our inclusion criteria. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of MRSA nares screen for all MRSA pneumonia types were 70.9% and 90.3%, respectively. With a 10% prevalence of potential MRSA pneumonia, the calculated PPV was 44.8%, and the NPV was 96.5%. The pooled sensitivity and specificity for MRSA community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP) were 85% and 92.1%, respectively. For CAP and HCAP both the PPV and NPV increased, to 56.8% and 98.1%, respectively. In comparison, for MRSA ventilated-associated pneumonia, the sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV were 40.3%, 93.7%, 35.7%, and 94.8%, respectively.

Conclusion: Nares screening for MRSA had a high specificity and NPV for ruling out MRSA pneumonia, particularly in cases of CAP/HCAP. Based on the NPV, MRSA nares screening is a valuable tool for AMS to streamline empiric antibiotic therapy, especially among patients with pneumonia who are not colonized with MRSA.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Nasal Cavity / microbiology
  • Nose / microbiology*
  • Pneumonia, Staphylococcal / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Staphylococcal / microbiology
  • Risk Factors