The significance of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) is unknown. Using a multinational collection of isolates from methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infective endocarditis (IE), we characterized IE patients with and without hVISA, and genotyped the infecting strains.
MRSA bloodstream isolates from 65 patients with definite IE from 8 countries underwent PCR for 31 virulence genes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing. hVISA was defined using population analysis profiling (PAP).
Nineteen (29.2%) of 65 MRSA IE isolates exhibited hVISA by PAP. Isolates from Oceania and Europe were more likely to exhibit hVISA than isolates from the United States (77.8% vs. 35.0% vs. 13.9%; P < .001). The prevalence of hVISA was higher among isolates with a vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration of 2 mg/L (P = .026). hVISA-infected patients were more likely to have persistent bacteremia (68.4% vs. 37.0%; P = .029) and heart failure (47.4% vs. 19.6%; P = .033). Mortality of hVISA- and non-hVISA-infected patients did not differ (42.1% vs. 34.8%, P = .586). hVISA and non-hVISA isolates were genotypically similar.
In these analyses, hVISA occurred in over one-quarter of MRSA IE isolates, was associated with certain IE complications, and varied in frequency by geographic region.