Limited Clinical Utility of Follow-up Blood Cultures in Patients With Streptococcal Bacteremia: An Opportunity for Blood Culture Stewardship
BACKGROUND: The value of positive follow-up blood cultures (FUBCs) in streptococcal bacteremia has not been well defined. Therefore, we explored the frequency of and risk factors for positive FUBC in a retrospective cohort of patients with streptococcal bacteremia. METHODS: Adults ≥18 years of age, admitted with at least 1 positive blood culture for spp between 2013 and 2018 followed by at least 1 FUBC, were potentially eligible. Positive FUBCs were defined as cultures positive for the same streptococcal species drawn >24 hours after the index culture. We excluded patients with polymicrobial bacteremia. We compared the characteristics of patients with and without a positive FUBC. RESULTS: In our single-center cohort, we identified 590 patients with streptococcal bacteremia, and 314 patients met inclusion criteria. Ten patients had FUBC with spp (3.2%), 4 (1.3%) had a contaminant identified, and 3 (1.0%) had a new pathogen isolated. Endocarditis (5 of 10 [50.0%] vs 35 of 304 [11.5%]), epidural abscess (2 of 10 [20%] vs 4 of 304 [1.3%]), and discitis or vertebral osteomyelitis (3 of 10 [30.0%] vs 14 of 304 [4.6%]) were associated with positive FUBC. Patients with positive FUBC had a longer median length of stay (12.9 vs 7.1 days, = .004) and longer duration of antibiotic treatment (14.9 vs 43.2 days, = .03). CONCLUSIONS: Follow-up blood cultures among patients with streptococcal BSI are rarely positive. Clinicians could consider limiting follow-up blood cultures in patients at low risk for deep-seated streptococcal infections, persistent bacteremia, or endovascular infection.