MRSA Linked to Higher Mortality in Cystic Fibrosis

Study further establishes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as important CF pathogen
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection have worse survival rates than CF patients without the infection, according to a study in the June 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Elliott C. Dasenbrook, M.D., of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues evaluated 19,833 CF patients aged 6 to 45 years seen at centers accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the United States between January 1996 and December 2006 and followed through December 2008.

The researchers found that the mortality rate was higher among CF patients with MRSA compared to those without the infection (27.7 versus 18.3 deaths per 1,000 patient-years). The attributable risk percentage of mortality associated with MRSA was 34 percent among those with the infection. The researchers also found that MRSA was associated with a higher risk of mortality even after adjusting for time-varying covariates associated with severity of illness (hazard ratio, 1.27).

"The results of this study in conjunction with previous data further establish MRSA as a significant CF pathogen and provide impetus for more aggressive treatment of CF patients who are persistently MRSA positive. Ideally this treatment will be conducted in the context of clinical trials, because optimal therapeutic approaches for MRSA, both persistent and new, are not yet known," the authors write.

Three authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies.

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