Bacterial DNA load in Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia is significantly higher in intravascular infections

An-Emmie Nieman, Wouter Rozemeijer, Paul H. M. Savelkoul, Rogier P. Schade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives Determination of pathogen-specific bacterial DNA load (BDL) in blood has been shown to be directly correlated with severity of infection in patients with bacteremia. In the diagnostic work-up of patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB), determination of the primary focus is imperative, because of implications for treatment duration, and ultimately prognosis. Here we investigate whether measurement of BDL in patients with SAB can distinguish between intravascular and extravascular foci of infection. Methods In a consecutive cohort of 43 patients with positive blood cultures with Staphylococcus aureus, we performed a quantitative PCR on whole blood to detect the bacterial DNA load. Infections were classified into 3 categories: i) soft tissue infections and phlebitis, ii) deep-seated infections and iii) endocarditis and other intravascular infections. Bacterial DNA loads and inflammatory parameters in the three categories were analyzed and compared. Results Median BDL in patients with endocarditis and other intravascular infections was 1015 cfu/ml, significantly higher than BDL in the other two categories (28 and 31 cfu/ml respectively). In contrast, CRP and leukocytes were not significantly different between the three patient categories. BDL could be detected in all patients with intravascular causes and levels were generally 10–30 times higher than in the other infection categories. Median BDL in non-survivors was 85 cfu/ml, which was higher than in survivors with a median BDL of 29 cfu/ml, although not significant.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0266869
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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