Question 23.1

A 55-year-old obese male with dysuria and hypotension was admitted to the ICU 12 hours previously. He had a femoral central venous catheter inserted in the Emergency Department on admission. Your registrar has reported that blood cultures collected through the CVC at the time of insertion growing Staphylococcus epidermidis.

  • What advice will you give the registrar regarding the blood culture result?
  • List two groups of patients in whom this result would be a concern.

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College Answer


Not to give additional antibiotics

Consider removing / re-siting the femoral CVC depending on the patient’s condition


    1. Immunocompromised patients with intravascular devices
    2. Patients with surgical implants
    3. Patients high risk for endocarditis
    4. Low weight neonates and elderly


Key points about the first part of this question:

Key points about the risk factors for clinically significant S.epidermidis bacteraemia:

  • Anyone at risk of native valve endocarditis
  • Anyone with artifical valves
  • Anyone with a history of rheumatic heart disease
  • Anyone who is immunosuppressed
  • Anyone with an implated pacemaker, or any other surgical implant
  • Any low birth infant
  • Any elderly person (>65 years of age)

In any case, the question clearly points our way to urosepsis. The guy had dysuria, which is not usually a feature of staphylococcal endocarditis so severe that it would cause haemodynamic collapse and ICU admission.


De Leon, Samuel Ponce, and Richard P. Wenzel. "Hospital-acquired bloodstream infections with Staphylococcus epidermidis: review of 100 cases."The American journal of medicine 77.4 (1984): 639-644.

Haslett, T. M., et al. "Microbiology of indwelling central intravascular catheters."Journal of clinical microbiology 26.4 (1988): 696-701.

Stohl, Sheldon, et al. "Blood cultures at central line insertion in the intensive care unit: comparison with peripheral venipuncture." Journal of clinical microbiology 49.7 (2011): 2398-2403.

Beekmann, Susan E., Daniel J. Diekema, and Gary V. Doern. "Determining the clinical significance of coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from blood cultures." Infection control and hospital epidemiology 26.6 (2005): 559-566.

Raad, Issam, et al. "Impact of central venous catheter removal on the recurrence of catheter-related coagulase-negative staphylococcal bacteremia."Infection control and hospital epidemiology (1992): 215-221.

Raad, Issam, et al. "Management of the catheter in documented catheter-related coagulase-negative staphylococcal bacteremia: remove or retain?."Clinical infectious diseases 49.8 (2009): 1187-94.

Chu, Vivian H., et al. "Emergence of coagulase-negative staphylococci as a cause of native valve endocarditis." Clinical infectious diseases 46.2 (2008): 232-242.

Blot, François, et al. "Earlier positivity of central-venous-versus peripheral-blood cultures is highly predictive of catheter-related sepsis." Journal of clinical microbiology 36.1 (1998): 105-109.