Rapid detection of carbapenemases directly from positive blood cultures by the β-CARBA test.


Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, University Hospital of Cologne, Goldenfelsstrasse 19-21, 50935, Cologne, Germany. [Email]


The rapid detection of blood stream infections (BSI) by carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) is indispensable to early optimize antibiotic treatment and to improve survival. While phenotypic tests are time-consuming and PCR is expensive and not available in many routine laboratories, colorimetric tests (e.g., Carba NP test) can provide rapid results at moderate cost. However, up to now, the detection of CPE-BSI requires a further 3-h incubation in broth supplemented with zinc sulfate and imipenem after a blood culture has become positive, thereby causing delay and additional hands-on time. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a new method for the detection of CPE directly from positive blood culture without the need for incubation in broth, based on the commercially available colorimetric β-CARBA test. For the evaluation, blood cultures spiked with 140 different Enterobacterales isolates producing diverse beta-lactamases were tested with the new method. Of these, 70 were CPE (OXA-48-like, NDM, KPC, VIM, and GIM). After blood cultures turned positive, blood culture fluid was drawn, and erythrocytes were hemolyzed with SDS, washed, and equilibrated before the β-CARBA was performed on the bacterial pellet. All carbapenemases were reliably detected, including weak carbapenemases of the OXA-48 group. The sensitivity was 100% (95% CI 94.9-100) and the specificity 94.3% (95% CI 89.2-99.4). The time to result was 20 to 45 min. Carbapenemases can rapidly and reliably be detected directly from blood cultures using the new method, which could help to improve the outcome of these difficult-to-treat infections.


Blood stream infection,Carba NP,Carbapenemase,NDM,OXA-48,

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