Antimicrobial Susceptibility Profiles To Predict the Presence of Carbapenemase Genes among Carbapenem-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa Isolates

J Clin Microbiol. 2021 May 19;59(6):e02874-20. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02874-20. Print 2021 May 19.


Detection of carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) with carbapenemase-producing (CP) genes is critical for preventing transmission. Our objective was to assess whether certain antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) profiles can efficiently identify CP-CRPA. We defined CRPA as P. aeruginosa with imipenem or meropenem MICs of ≥8 μg/ml; CP-CRPA was CRPA with CP genes (blaKPC/blaIMP/blaNDM/blaOXA-48/blaVIM). We assessed the sensitivity and specificity of AST profiles to detect CP-CRPA among CRPA isolates collected by CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (AR Lab Network) and the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) during 2017 to 2019. Three percent (195/6,192) of AR Lab Network CRPA isolates were CP-CRPA. Among CRPA isolates, adding not susceptible (NS) to cefepime or ceftazidime to the definition had 91% sensitivity and 50% specificity for identifying CP-CRPA; adding NS to ceftolozane-tazobactam had 100% sensitivity and 86% specificity. Of 965 EIP CRPA isolates evaluated for CP genes, 7 were identified as CP-CRPA; 6 of the 7 were NS to cefepime and ceftazidime, and all 7 were NS to ceftolozane-tazobactam. Among 4,182 EIP isolates, clinical laboratory AST results were available for 96% of them for cefepime, 80% for ceftazidime, and 4% for ceftolozane-tazobactam. The number of CRPA isolates needed to test (NNT) to identify one CP-CRPA isolate decreased from 138 to 64 if the definition of NS to cefepime or ceftazidime was used and to 7 with NS to ceftolozane-tazobactam. Adding not susceptible to cefepime or ceftazidime to CRPA carbapenemase testing criteria would reduce the NNT by half and can be implemented in most clinical laboratories; adding not susceptible to ceftolozane-tazobactam could be even more predictive once AST for this drug is more widely available.

Keywords: AST; CRPA; antibiotic resistance; carbapenemase production.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Azabicyclo Compounds
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carbapenems / pharmacology
  • Cephalosporins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Pseudomonas Infections*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa* / genetics
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Azabicyclo Compounds
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carbapenems
  • Cephalosporins
  • beta-Lactamases
  • carbapenemase