Increased carbapenem resistance is often caused by carbapenemase production.

. The objective of our study was to assess which antibiotic susceptibility patterns, as tested by automated systems, are highly associated with the absence of carbapenemase production in isolates, and could therefore be used as a screening tool.

Routine antibiotic susceptibility testing data from 42 medical microbiology laboratories in the Netherlands in the period between January 2011 and June 2017 were obtained from the national antimicrobial resistance surveillance programme. Data on isolates that had an elevated minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for carbapenems (meropenem >0.25 mg l or imipenem >1.0 mg l) were selected and subjected to phenotypic or genotypic carbapenemase production testing. Routinely available amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, piperacillin/tazobactam, cefuroxime and ceftriaxone/cefotaxime susceptibilities were studied in relation to carbapenemase production by calculating the negative predictive value.

No evidence for carbapenemase-producing (CPE) was found in 767 of 1007 (76 %) isolates. The negative predictive value was highest for amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (99.6 %) and piperacillin/tazobactam (98.8 %).

isolates with elevated carbapenem MICs that are susceptible to amoxicillin/clavulanic acid or piperacillin/tazobactam are unlikely to be carbapenemase producers. Preselection based on this susceptibility pattern may lead to increased laboratory efficiency and reduction of costs. Whether this is also true for countries with a different distribution of CPE species and types or a higher prevalence of CPE needs to be studied.


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