Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is not always caught on the orthopaedic ward

Published online: Apr 27 2009

Gayle Walley, Jeorge Orendi, Stephen Bridgman, Ben Davis, El-Nasri Ahmed, Nicola Maffulli

From the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, United Kingdom


We report the prevalence and incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonisation during the patient journey for patients admitted to orthopaedic and trauma wards. Patients were swabbed for MRSA colonisation on admission, transfer, and discharge from hospital. Elective patients undergoing major joint surgery were also swabbed at a pre-operative assessment clinic. Of the 559 patients admitted, 323 (101 elective, 192 trauma and 30 non-orthopaedic) were included in the study. Of these, 27 elective (27%), 41 trauma (21%), and seven non-orthopaedic (23%) patients were colonised with MRSA at any time during the audit period. There is a high prevalence of MRSA colonisation in patients admitted to the orthopaedic and trauma wards in our setting. A policy of pre-admission screening, though able to identify MRSA carriage, does not guarantee that patients are not colonised in the period between screening and admission. We suggest to screen for MRSA all patients admitted to an orthopaedic ward.