In the nosocomial setting, antimicrobial-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are a growing challenge, and alarming trends in resistance are currently reported all over the world. Isolates of Enterobacteriaceae producing ampC β-lactamases and extended spectrum β-lactamases are endemic in many hospitals, and are frequently resistant also to other classes of antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides. The risk of infections due to multi-drug resistant strains should be considered also for outpatients who have had recent contact with the health system. Both nosocomial and health-care associated infections should be treated with a combination of antibiotics active against multi-drug resistant Gram negative and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In the absence of effective antimicrobial stewardship programs, this aggressive therapeutic approach might lead to abuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics, with consequent increase in resistances. To contain the possible antibiotic overuse, several decisional strategies, often based on risk-score systems supporting the clinical decisions, have been proposed. In this context of high antibiotic selection pressure, carbapenem-resistant pathogens recently began to spread in many hospitals. Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, as well as carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and P. aeruginosa, represent the new major challenges to patient safety. Against these organisms the initial empiric treatment is generally ineffective. The poor clinical outcome associated with carbapenem- resistant K. pneumoniae infections is probably due to the delete in the beginning of an appropriate antibiotic treatment, rather than to the increased virulence of pathogens. Only few therapeutic options are available, including colistin, tigecycline, aminoglycosides and carbapenems in selected cases. Several combinations of these antibiotics have been used, but no ideal regimen has been currently established.
Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae; multi-drug resistant Enterobacteriaceae; nosocomial infections.