Antimicrobial resistance in cystic fibrosis: A Delphi approach to defining best practices

J Cyst Fibros. 2020 May;19(3):370-375. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2019.10.006. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


Background: Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) is a cornerstone of infection management in cystic fibrosis. However, there is little evidence that AST predicts the clinical outcome of CF antimicrobial treatment. It has been suggested there is a need for careful consideration of current AST use by the CF community.

Methods: We engaged a group of experts consisting of pulmonary (adult and pediatric) and infectious disease clinicians, microbiologists, and pharmacists representing a broad international experience. We conducted an iterative systematic survey (Delphi) to determine and quantify consensus regarding key questions facing CF clinicians in the use of respiratory culture results including what tests to order, when to obtain them, and how to act upon the results of the testing.

Results: Consensus was reached for many questions but there was not universal agreement to the questions that were addressed. There were some differences with respect to cultures obtained for surveillance compared to when there is clinical worsening. Areas of general consensus include when and how respiratory cultures should be performed, what information should be reported, and when AST should be performed. A key finding is that clinical response to treatment is used to guide treatment decisions rather than AST results.

Conclusions: Recommendations are presented regarding questions related to microbiology testing for patients with CF. We have also offered recommendations for priority research questions.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Consensus; Cystic fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural