If the infectious focus is not identified, there is an associated higher mortality in bacteraemia (SAB) [1]. A retrospective observational study found patients with high-risk SAB who had a PET scan had a 67% reduction in mortality compared to those who did not [2]. We used electronic data to determine the range of infectious foci in SAB and the use of PET in our trust.


From 1/1/13 to 31/12/18 all patients with SAB at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, were reviewed by the infectious diseases team and data collected prospectively using an Access database. A retrospective analysis of this database, electronic records, radiology and nuclear imaging was conducted.


355 episodes of SAB affected 296 patients. 28 (8%) episodes were MRSA in 24 (8%) of patients. Infectious sources found included bone and joint (23%), IV access (15%), vascular infection (15%), no infective focus (13%), SSTI (12%) and endocarditis (9%). Imaging used to determine the focus of infection included MRI (18%), CT (26%) and PET scan (10%). In-hospital mortality was significantly lower in those who had a PET scan than in those who did not (1/31, 3% v. 50/265 patients (last episode), 19%, P=0.03).


Mortality was lower in those who had PET at our trust. This is consistent with data published from other centres and requires further investigation. A prospective trial of PET in SAB is urgently needed.


[1] PMID: 30179645

[2] PMID: 28336786

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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