Interpretive Handbook

Test 56031 :
Antimicrobial Susceptibility, Anaerobic Bacteria, MIC

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Anaerobic bacteria make up a large part of the human body’s normal flora and generally do not cause infection. When usual skin and mucosal barriers are penetrated and in an anaerobic environment, these bacteria can behave as pathogens. Anaerobes grow aggressively in the body under anaerobic conditions and may possess a variety of virulence factors including capsules and extracellular enzymes. They also can develop resistance to antimicrobials by producing beta-lactamase and other modifying enzymes and by alterations in membrane permeability and structure of penicillin-binding proteins. Because anaerobic bacteria are a significant cause of human infection and they are often resistant to commonly used antimicrobials, susceptibility testing results are useful to clinicians.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Determining the in vitro susceptibility of anaerobic bacteria involved in human infections

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

A "susceptible" category result and a low minimum inhibitory concentration value indicate in vitro susceptibility of the organism to the antimicrobial tested.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

In vitro susceptibility does not guarantee clinical response. Therefore, the decision to treat with a particular agent should not be based solely on the antimicrobial susceptibility testing result.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.


Results are reported as minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) in mcg/mL and as susceptible, susceptible dose dependent, intermediate, or resistant according to the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines. Vancomycin, ciprofloxacin, and minocycline are reported as MIC values only (without interpretations).


Susceptible (S):

The "susceptible" category implies that isolates are inhibited by the usually achievable concentrations of antimicrobial agent when the dosage recommended to treat the site of infection is used.


Susceptible-Dose Dependent (D):

The "susceptible-dose dependent" category implies that susceptibility of an isolate is dependent on the dosing regimen that is used in the patient. In order to achieve levels that are likely to be clinically effective against isolates for which the susceptibility testing results are in the D category, it is necessary to use a dosing regimen (ie, higher doses, more frequent doses, or both) that results in higher drug exposure than the dose that was used to establish the susceptible breakpoint. Consideration should be given to the maximum approved dosage regimen, because higher exposure gives the highest probability of adequate coverage of a D isolate. The drug label should be consulted for recommended doses and adjustment for organ function. The D category may be assigned when doses well above those used to calculate the susceptible breakpoint are approved and used clinically.


Intermediate (I):

The "intermediate" category includes isolates with antimicrobial agent minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) that approach usually attainable blood and tissue levels, and for which response rates may be lower than for susceptible isolates. The intermediate category implies clinical efficacy in body sites where the drugs are physiologically concentrated or when a higher than normal dosage of a drug can be used. This category also includes a buffer zone, which should prevent small, uncontrolled, technical factors from causing major discrepancies in interpretations, especially for drugs with narrow pharmacotoxicity margins.


Resistant (R):

The "resistant" category implies that the isolates are not inhibited by the usually achievable concentrations of the agent with normal dosage schedules and/or that demonstrate MICs that fall in the range where specific microbial resistance mechanisms are likely, and clinical efficacy of the agent against the isolate has not been reliably shown in treatment studies.


Nonsusceptible (N):

The "nonsusceptible" category is used for isolates for which only a susceptible interpretive criterion has been designated because of the absence or rare occurrence of resistant strains. Isolates for which the antimicrobial agent MICs are above the value indicated for the susceptible breakpoint is reported as nonsusceptible.


Note: An isolate that is interpreted as nonsusceptible does not necessarily mean that the isolate has a resistance mechanism. It is possible that isolates with MICs above the susceptible breakpoint that lack resistance mechanisms may be encountered within the wild-type distribution subsequent to the time the susceptible-only breakpoint was set.(CLSI. Performance Standards for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing; Twenty-Fifth Informational Supplement. CLSI document M100-S25. Wayne, PA: Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; 2015)

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Rosenblatt JE, Brook I: Clinical relevance of susceptibility testing of anaerobic bacteria. Clin Infect Dis 1993;16(Suppl 4):S446-S448.