Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing: Present and Future

Fabio Arena, MD; Bruno Viaggi, MD; Luisa Galli, MD; Gian Maria Rossolini, MD


Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2015;34(10):1128-1130. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) is among the oldest and most common tasks performed by the Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology. Results of AST are essential for selection of definitive antimicrobial chemotherapy of bacterial infections diagnosed in individual patients, including pediatric patients. Cumulative AST data are also important for compilation of surveillance reports on antimicrobial resistance epidemiology at different levels (hospital, regional, national and supranational), which serve as guidance for selection of the best empiric antimicrobial regimens in different epidemiological settings and as tools for monitoring the evolution of antimicrobial resistance trends on a broader scale. Finally, monitoring of AST patterns of clinical isolates can be useful for the early detection of outbreaks caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens of clinical and epidemiological relevance.

The clinical value of AST has been clearly established[1] and is further increased in settings with a high prevalence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens for which treatment options are more limited. However, the current AST practices have limitations, whereas recent technological developments in diagnostic microbiology opened new perspectives in this field. The scope of this article is to review the current AST practices and to describe and discuss the forthcoming developments in this area.