Antibiotic susceptibility of multiply resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from patients with cystic fibrosis, including candidates for transplantation

Clin Infect Dis. 1996 Sep;23(3):532-7. doi: 10.1093/clinids/23.3.532.


Chronic lung disease caused by antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is difficult to treat, especially in those who are lung transplantation candidates. Analysis of antibiotic susceptibility and synergy studies of 1,296 isolates revealed that 172 (13.3%) were multiply resistant (i.e., resistant to two or more classes of anti-Pseudomonas agents). beta-Lactam agents (including imipenem and aztreonam) or aminoglycosides inhibited only 11% of the multiply resistant strains, while ciprofloxacin inhibited 34%. High concentrations of tobramycin and gentamicin (200 micrograms/mL), achievable by aerosol administration, inhibited 95% of isolates and overwhelmed permeability-resistance mechanisms. Antimicrobial pairs tested in checkerboard dilutions of clinically achievable drug concentrations inhibited 75% of the multiply resistant strains. On average, three additive and 2.4 synergistic pairs of antimicrobial agents had activity per strain. Transplantation candidates were older than nontransplantation candidates (P = .034), and isolates from transplantation candidates were less likely to be inhibited by antibiotic combinations (P < .001). Administration of aerosolized aminoglycosides and synergy testing of antimicrobial combinations may represent viable therapeutic options for patients with CF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aminoglycosides / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Pseudomonas Infections / complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents