Prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus Colonization in Orthopaedic Surgeons and Their Patients

Schwarzkopf, Ran; Takemoto, Richelle C.; Immerman, Igor; Slover, James D.; Bosco, Joseph A.
August 2010
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;Aug2010, Vol. 92-A Issue 9, p1815
Academic Journal
Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and methicil I in-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus surgical site infections are an increasing health problem in the United States. To date, no study, as far as we know, has evaluated the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus colonization in orthopaedic surgeons. The purpose of our study was to assess the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus colonization in orthopaedic surgery attending surgeons and residents at our institution compared with that in our high-risk patients. Methods: We performed nasal swab cultures in seventy-four orthopaedic attending surgeons and sixty-one orthopaedic surgery residents at our institution, screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. We compared these results with a prospective database of nasal cultures of patients undergoing joint replacement and spine surgery. Results: A total of 135 physicians were screened. Of those physicians, 1.5% were positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and 35.7% were positive for methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. None of the sixty-one residents were positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. However, 59% were positive for methicillin- sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. Of the seventy-four attending surgeons, 2.7% were positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and 23.3%, for methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. Previous studies at our institution have demonstrated a 2.17% prevalence of nasal carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and an 18% rate of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus in high-risk patients. Thus, no difference was found between the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in residents or attending surgeons and that in the high-risk patients. However, the prevalence of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus colonization in the surgeons (35.7%) was significantly higher than that in the high-risk patient group (18%) (p < 0.01). Conclusions: At a major teaching hospital, a higher prevalence of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus colonization was found among attending and resident orthopaedic surgeons compared with a high-risk patient group, but the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization was similar.


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