• We examined 58 surgical patients with two or more blood cultures positive for Staphylococcus epidermidis to determine factors associated with risk, mortality, and invasive sepsis. Bacterial sepsis was associated with gastrointestinal (GI) operations, total parenteral nutrition, and a regimen of two or more parenteral antibiotics. Mortality was 46% overall and significantly Increased with age greater than 50 years, GI operations, other gram-positive sepsis, recurrent sepsis (positive blood culture 24 hours or more after the first blood culture), and the presence of organisms sensitive to three or less antibiotics. Antibiotic therapy appropriate for more than 50% of the S epidermidis organisms cultured from each patient resulted in significant reduction in mortality. Staphylococcus epidermidis should be considered a significant pathogen in critically ill surgical patients. Invasive S epidermidis sepsis can be recognized and requires specific antibiotic therapy.
(Arch Surg 1984;119:96-100)