An 11-year analysis of microbial keratitis in the South West of England using brain–heart infusion broth

Shokufeh Tavassoli*, Gayathri Nayar, Kieren Darcy, Mariusz Grzeda, Jon Luck, O. Martin Williams, Derek Tole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aims of this study were to identify the organisms responsible for microbial keratitis, as identified by corneal scrape using brain–heart infusion broth, trends over time and antimicrobial sensitivities, over an 11-year period at two eye units in the South West of England; Bristol Eye Hospital and Royal United Hospital, Bath. Methods: All corneal scrapes performed and sent for microbiological analysis between 4th April 2006 and 31st October 2017 at the two eye units were retrospectively reviewed. First-line treatment was monotherapy with levofloxacin 0.5% and second-line treatment was a combination of cefuroxime 5% and gentamicin 1.5%. Both direct and enrichment cultures were used. Results: In total, 2614 corneal scrapes from 2116 patients (1082 female, mean age 47.7 ± 21.2 years) were identified. 38.1% (n = 996) were culture positive and 1195 organisms were cultured. In all, 91.6% were bacteria (69.4% were gram-positive, 30.6% gram-negative). Coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CoNS) were the most commonly cultured organism (n = 430). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most commonly identified gram-negative organism (n = 189). In total, 6.9% (n = 83) of organisms cultured were fungi. In all, 1.4% (n = 17) were acanthamoeba. There was no statistically significant trend in the organisms observed over the study period. Sensitivity testing confirmed reasonable sensitivity to the empiric antibiotics used in clinical practice. Conclusions: This is the first report on microbial keratitis trends in the South West of England. Virulent organisms were likely to be detected on direct culture, whereas low virulent organisms such as CoNS were more likely to be detected on enrichment alone. Antibiotic sensitivity testing confirmed fluoroquinolone monotherapy as appropriate first-line treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1619-1625
Number of pages7
JournalEye (Basingstoke)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.


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