International Validation of a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Risk Assessment Tool for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections

E. J. Zasowski, T. D. Trinh, K. C. Claeys, M. Dryden, S. Shlyapnikov, M. Bassetti, A. Carnelutti, N. Khachatryan, A. Kurup, Abraham Pulido Cejudo, L. Melo, B. Cao, Michael J. Rybak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: To promote judicious prescribing of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-active therapy for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI), we previously developed an MRSA risk assessment tool. The objective of this study was to validate this risk assessment tool internationally. Methods: A multicenter, prospective cohort study of adults with purulent SSTI was performed at seven international sites from July 2016 to March 2018. Patient MRSA risk scores were computed as follows: MRSA infection/colonization history (2 points); previous hospitalization, previous antibiotics, chronic kidney disease, intravenous drug use, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), diabetes with obesity (1 point each). Predictive performance of MRSA surveillance percentage, MRSA risk score, and estimated MRSA probability (surveillance percentage adjusted by risk score) were quantified using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (aROC) and compared. Performance characteristics of different risk score thresholds across varying baseline MRSA prevalence were examined. Results: Two hundred three patients were included. Common SSTI were wounds (28.6%), abscess (25.1%), and cellulitis with abscess (20.7%). Patients with higher risk scores were more likely to have MRSA (P < 0.001). The MRSA risk score aROC (95%CI) [0.748 (0.678–0.819)] was significantly greater than MRSA surveillance percentage [0.646 (0.569–0.722)] (P = 0.016). Estimated MRSA probability aROC [0.781 (0.716–0.845)] was significantly greater than surveillance percentage (P < 0.001) but not the risk score (P = 0.192). The estimated negative predictive value (NPV) of an MRSA score ≥ 1 (i.e., a score of 0) was greater than 90% when MRSA prevalence was 30% or less. Conclusion: The MRSA risk score and estimated MRSA probability were significantly more predictive of MRSA compared with surveillance percentage. An MRSA risk score of zero had high predictive value and could help avoid unnecessary empiric MRSA coverage in low-acuity patients. Further study, including impact of such risk assessment tools on prescribing patterns and outcomes are required before implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2253-2263
Number of pages11
JournalInfectious Diseases and Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Clinical decision support
  • MRSA
  • Risk score
  • Skin and soft tissue infection


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