Objective: To compare a surveillance definition of noso comial bloodstream infections requiring only microbiology data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) current definition.
Setting: Six teaching hospitals.
Methods: We classified a representative sample of 73 positive blood cultures from six hospitals growing common skin contaminant isolates using a definition for bacteremia requiring only microbiology data and the CDC definition for primary bloodstream infection (National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance [NNIS] System review method). The classifications assigned during routine prospective surveillance also were noted, and the time required to classify isolates by the two methods was compared.
Results: Among 65 blood cultures growing common skin contaminant isolates obtained from adults, the agreement rate between the microbiology data method and the NNIS review method was 91%. Agreement was significantly poorer for the eight blood cultures growing common skin contaminant isolates obtained from pediatric patients. The microbiology data method requires approximately 20 minutes less time per isolate than does routine surveillance.
Conclusions: A definition based on microbiology data alone yields the same result as the CDC's definition in the large majority of instances. It is more resource-efficient than the CDC's current definition.