• In 73 surgical patients enterococcal bacteremia was preceded by antibiotic administration (n = 58), central venous catheters (n = 52), other-organism bacteremia (n = 44), and gastrointestinal tract operations (n = 41). Surgical wounds and urinary tract infections were the most frequent portal of entry. The overall mortality was 42%. The mortality risk was significantly greater in patients with preceding or concomitant gram-positive bacteremia and four or more days of cephalosporin administration prior to enterococcemia. In 21 patients who had been given cephalosporins and who had gram-positive bacteremia, specific antienterococcal therapy resulted in survival in five of nine patients, compared with three of 12 who survived without therapy. Enterococcal bacteremia in surgical patients follows antibiotic administration, central venous catheter use, other-organism bacteremia, and intra-abdominal operations. Preceding or concomitant gram-positive bacteremia defines a subgroup of patients with high mortality who seem to respond to antienterococcal therapy.
(Arch Surg 1985;120:57-63)