[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 2, 1982

Making Optimum Use of the Microbiology LaboratoryIII. Aids of Antimicrobial Therapy

JAMA. 1982;247(13):1868-1871. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320380060035

PREVIOUS articles in this series have emphasized the need for physicians to review with microbiologists ways of obtaining results from the microbiology laboratory that are more useful. Physicians and microbiologists must work together to facilitate interpretation of laboratory data used to guide antimicrobial therapy. The techniques used and the mode of reporting information should optimize therapy at minimum cost.

ANTIMICROBIAL SUSCEPTIBILITY: 'S-I-R' VS MICs  In recent years, much technological change has occurred in the in vitro testing of antimicrobial susceptibility of bacteria isolated from clinical specimens. The disk method of testing was applied initially in a highly unstandardized manner and led to unreliable results in many instances. More recently, the Kirby-Bauer method has become highly standardized in the majority of laboratories. Still, most physicians are only vaguely aware of how the designations "S," "I," and "R," which stand for sensitive, intermediate (or indeterminate) sensitivity, and resistance, relate to achievable antimicrobial