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28 August 2023 : Case report  USA

[In Press] Ventilator-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Pneumonia in a Patient with a Negative MRSA Nasal Swab

Unusual clinical course, Mistake in diagnosis

Michael Kalinoski1ABCDE, Nicholas E. Ingraham ORCID logo2DE

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.941088

Am J Case Rep In Press; DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.941088  

Available online: 2023-08-28, In Press, Corrected Proof

Publication in the "In-Press" formula aims at speeding up the public availability of the pending manuscript while waiting for the final publication. The assigned DOI number is active and citable. The availability of the article in the Medline, PubMed and PMC databases as well as Web of Science will be obtained after the final publication according to the journal schedule


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pneumonia is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Recently, MRSA testing by nasal swab has been utilized to “exclude” pneumonia caused by MRSA, given its high negative-predictive value (NPV). We present, however, a case of MRSA pneumonia diagnosed by endotracheal aspirate culture (EAC) in a patient with a negative MRSA nasal swab.
A 58-year-old woman presented with septic shock and respiratory failure. Chest X-ray (CXR) on admission was unrevealing; however, computed tomography (CT) revealed multifocal pneumonia. Intensive Care Unit (ICU)-level care was required for mechanical ventilation and vasopressors. She initially improved with treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and was extubated on hospital day 6; however, she then developed a fever, tachycardia, and respiratory distress necessitating re-intubation later that day. Repeat CXR demonstrated a new left lower lobe infiltrate. Blood cultures were drawn and vancomycin and cefepime were started to cover for ventilator-associated pathogens. An EAC and nasal swab were collected to test for MRSA. The next day (day 7), the MRSA nasal swab returned negative, and vancomycin was discontinued. Our patient continued to experience fevers, worsening leukocytosis, and ongoing vasopressor need. On hospital day 9, the EAC results were obtained, and were positive for MRSA. Vancomycin was restarted and our patient recovered.
Negative MRSA nasal screening may be considered grounds to de-escalate empiric MRSA antibiotics if MRSA prevalence is low. However, in critically ill patients with high risk and suspicion for MRSA pneumonia, discontinuing empiric MRSA coverage should be done with caution or clinicians should wait until respiratory culture results are obtained before de-escalating antibiotics.

Keywords: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Pneumonia, Staphylococcal; Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated

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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923