Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swabs are guideline-recommended de-escalation tools in certain patients with pneumonia. Prior studies have demonstrated reduced anti-MRSA therapy with negative results, but the impact on durations of therapy has been poorly elucidated in patients with positive PCRs. The objective of this review was to evaluate anti-MRSA treatment durations in patients with a positive MRSA PCR in the absence of MRSA growth on culture. This was a single-center, retrospective observational study evaluating 52 hospitalized, adult patients receiving anti-MRSA therapy with positive MRSA PCRs. The overall median duration of anti-MRSA therapy was five days, including a median of four days after PCR results. This was consistent among intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU patient populations and in patients with suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Among patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), the median duration of anti-MRSA therapy was seven days, with a median of six days after PCR results. Overall, patients received a median duration of anti-MRSA therapy that would constitute a full treatment course for many respiratory infections, which indicates that providers may equate a positive MRSA nasal PCR with positive culture growth and highlights the need for education on the interpretation of positive tests.
Keywords: antimicrobial stewardship; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; nasal swab; pneumonia.