A. baumannii, an aerobic, gram-negative bacillus which is widely distributed in nature, is notorious for its remarkable Ability to acquire antibiotic resistance. As a result, it causes persistent hospital-acquired infections (1, 2). In our present study, the incidence of MDR/XDR- AB at our facility was 0.48 cases/1000 patient-days, which was consistent with the incidence range from 0 to 58 cases/1000 patient-days(15) and lower than the incidence of another PICU that literature reports(7). Patients in PICU always characterized by more severe underlying diseases, immune dysfunction and more complex medical history, all of these conditions will cause severe infection of A. baumannii. while MDR/XDR AB strains appeared.
From our single-center data, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) occupied the major complication in pediatric critically ill patients who MDR/XDR AB infection with an incidence rate of 54.9% (56/102). Both blood stream and CNS infection caused relative high mortality. Due to an increase in invasive operations as well as the severity of primary conditions of critically ill patients, the overall incidence of MDR/XDR AB infection increased.
MDR/XDR AB is resistant to most pediatric antimicrobial agents, including penicillins, most cephalosporins, carbapenems, aminoglycosides, and sulfa drugs. XDR AB tends to develop resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents through degrading enzymes targeting β- lactams, increasing the expression of Ampc enzyme, modifying enzymes targeting aminoglycosides and alteration to the binding sites for quinolones, producing OXA-23 carbapenem enzyme, decreasing the expression of outer membrane pore channel protein, efflux pump system hyperactivity, and loss of PBPs. Additionally, MDR/XDR AB could induce drug resistance through plasmid integration, while causing multiple drug resistance plasmids(2, 16, 17). In our study, the susceptibility results showed that the drug resistance rates of MDR/XDR AB to beta-lactam antibiotics were more than 75% except for cefoperazone/sulbactam (44%). This phenomenon could be explained that sulbactam may be combined with the important PBPs or change the outer membrane permeability of G−bacteria, thus making the beta-lactamase leakage while increasing the opportunity of other antibacterial drugs into biomass.(18) As the contribution of sulbactam, another antibiotic contains sulbactam-ampicillin/sulbatan, showed lower drug resistance rate (79%) than other beta-lactam antibiotics. During the period of neither tigecycline nor polymyxin was available, a combination therapy of cefoperazone/sulbactam or fosfomycin and carbapenems was applied.
Since the safety of children's medication has been put in an important place, our choice of antibiotics faced a lot of limitations. Although no evidence in the literature that combination therapy is prior to single drug for infection with MDR/XDR AB, some in vitro studies have shown that certain drug combinations are synergistic(19, 20).In the study by Singkham-In U et al(21), the combination of 1 × MIC of imipenem (16–64 mg/L, and 128 mg/L of isolate A10) and 1 × MIC of fosfomycin (128–256 mg/L) showed synergism and bactericidal effect against most A. baumannii isolates. Fosfomycin, when combined with imipenem, may enhance the inhibition of bacterial cell wall synthesis. So from this point of view, the combination of fosfomycin and carbapenems in the past few years benefited a number of our patients. In our study, from Jan 2017, 28 patients received tigecycline treatment. Though it seemed that 63.3% patients in the non-survival group treated by tigecycline while 15.2% in survival group, what cannot be ignored was the initiation of tigecycline treatment in non-survival group was 6.5 day later (0.56 ± 0.27d vs. 7.07 ± 4.93d after positive culture reports received, p = 0.0025) than survival group positive culture report received, which might have an impact on higher treatment failure rate.
A. baumannii was transported together by infiltrating neutrophils. Go Kamoshida et al (22) found that A. baumannii exploits human neutrophils by adhering to and inducing IL-8 release for bacterial portage. A.baumannii stimulation IL-8 plays a critical role in enhancing the migration of A. baumannii-adhering neutrophils, the migration of AB was suppressed when the infiltration of neutrophils was suppressed by inhibiting IL-8 (23). Through Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and CD14, A. baumannii lipopolysaccharide leads the production of the neutrophil chemotactic factor IL-8 (2) and the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α(24). In our MDR/XDR AB infected patients, a higher serum level of IL-8 (0.1(0.1, 22.99)pg/ml vs. 15.25 (1.62, 47.215)pg/ml) was detected in the non-survival group, this phenomenon might explain that A. baumannii in this group seems to spread throughout the body more easily.
Studies have shown that purified TLR2 ligands from A. baumannii are immunostimulatory (25). CD4+ T cells play important role in the Th1/Th2 paradigm, participate in inflammation(26), AbOmpA of A. baumannii (AbOmpA) is a major porin protein in the outer membrane and is partly responsible for apoptosis of eukaryotic cells. Jun SikLee et al (27) co-cultured CD4 + splenic T cells with AbOmpA-treated DCs, and found AbOmpA directs CD4+ T cell differentiation towards a Th1 response. Most biofilms provide a mechanical barrier to phagocytosis much like a capsule. A small number of bacteria become biologically active by migration from the biofilm or by shearing forces that remove small clumps of the biofilm. These bacteria released from the biofilm can induce not only host responses but also act as the seeding colony for the establishment of another infectious focus (28). In our research, the patients in non-survival group appeared a higher CD4+ T cell ratio than survival patients, which revealed that a persistent neutrophil activation and accumulation in tissue that caused inflammation spread.
Our study had several limitations. First, because data were collected retrospectively from medical records, some parameters had to be inferred from the charts. Susceptibility testing had limitations, fosfomycin was not included, which resulted in a lack of antibiotic susceptibility evidence when we made treatment decisions.
In conclusion, our study suggests that MDR/XDR-AB is an important opportunistic pathogen that causes nosocomial infection in PICU with a rather high mortality. The incidence increased in the last six months, ineffective management, immune dysfunction, co-infected with other pathogen contributed to the risk of death.