Rapid development of resistance to clarithromycin following monotherapy for disseminated Mycobacterium chelonae infection in a heart transplant patient

Clin Infect Dis. 1995 Feb;20(2):443-4. doi: 10.1093/clinids/20.2.443.


Mycobacterium chelonae (formerly known as M. chelonae subspecies chelonae) is a rapidly growing mycobacterium that can cause disseminated infections, especially in immunocompromised hosts. The bacterium is typically resistant to antimicrobial agents; less than 20% of M. chelonae isolates are susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, doxycycline, erythromycin, or ciprofloxacin. Findings in a recent study suggested that clarithromycin may be the drug of choice for the treatment of cutaneous (disseminated) disease due to M. chelonae. We describe a 60-year-old heart transplant patient with disseminated M. chelonae infection for whom monotherapy with clarithromycin failed because of the rapid development of resistance to the drug.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Clarithromycin / pharmacology
  • Clarithromycin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Heart Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / drug therapy*
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium chelonae / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium chelonae / isolation & purification
  • Myocardial Ischemia / surgery
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / etiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Clarithromycin