Rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing (RAST) of bacteria causing bloodstream infections is critical for implementation of appropriate antibiotic regimens.
We have established a procedure to prepare standardized bacterial inocula for Enterobacterales-containing clinical blood cultures and assessed antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) data generated with the WASPLabTM automated reading system.
A total of 258 blood cultures containing Enterobacterales were examined. Bacteria were enumerated by flow cytometry using the UF-4000 system and adjusted to an inoculum of 106 cfu/mL. Disc diffusion plates were automatically streaked, incubated for 6, 8 and 18 h and imaged using the fully automated WASPLabTM system. Growth inhibition zones were compared with those obtained with inocula prepared from primary subcultures following the EUCAST standard method. Due to time-dependent variations of the inhibition zone diameters, early AST readings were interpreted using time-adjusted tentative breakpoints and areas of technical uncertainty.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Inhibition zones obtained after 18 h incubation using an inoculum of 106 cfu/mL prepared directly from blood cultures were highly concordant with those of the EUCAST standard method based on primary subcultures, with categorical agreement (CA) of 95.8%. After 6 and 8 h incubation, 89.5% and 93.0% of the isolates produced interpretable results, respectively, with CA of >98.5% and very low numbers of clinical categorization errors for both the 6 h and 8 h readings. Overall, with the standardized and automated RAST method, consistent AST data from blood cultures containing Enterobacterales can be generated after 6-8 h of incubation and subsequently confirmed by standard reading of the same plate after 18 h.