Risk factors for Staphylococcus aureus infection in liver transplant recipients



Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of bacterial infection in liver transplant recipients. Preoperative nasal carriage of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is associated with a high risk of infection. We conducted a retrospective cohort study in order to identify independent risk factors for early-onset S. aureus infection after liver transplantation. Patients were screened preoperatively for methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) and MRSA nasal carriage. Risk factor analysis was performed by univariate analysis followed by stepwise logistic regression. Of the 323 patients included, 63 (19.5%) patients developed S. aureus infection (36 MRSA, 27 MSSA) within 1 month of surgery. Variables significantly associated with infection in the univariate analysis were MRSA and MSSA nasal carriage, alcoholic cirrhosis, absence of hepatocellular carcinoma, decreased prothrombin ratio, and presence of ascites. In the multivariate analysis, MRSA carriage (odds ratio [OR]: 20.9, P < 0.0001), MSSA carriage (OR: 3.4, P = 0.0004), alcoholic cirrhosis (OR: 2.4, P = 0.01) and decreased prothrombin ratio (OR: 1.2, P = 0.01) were independent predictors of infection. Molecular typing showed that the infecting isolate was identical to the isolate from the nose in most patients. In conclusion, preoperative nasal carriage of MRSA and MSSA is an independent risk factor for S. aureus infection in liver transplant recipients. The infection is most often of endogenous origin. Alcoholic cirrhosis and the severity of liver failure are also associated with a high risk of infection. (Liver Transpl 2005;11:1093–1099.)