Patients' Experiences With Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative Bacterial Bloodstream Infections: A Qualitative Descriptive Study and Concept Elicitation Phase To Inform Measurement of Patient-reported Quality of Life.



Although Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative bacterial bloodstream infections (SAB/GNB) cause substantial morbidity, little is known regarding patient perceptions' of their impact on quality of life (QOL). Guidance for assessing QOL and disease-specific measures are lacking. We conducted a descriptive qualitative study to gain an in-depth understanding of patients' experiences with SAB/GNB and concept elicitation phase to inform a patient-reported QOL outcome measure.


We conducted prospective one-time, in-depth, semi-structured, individual, qualitative telephone interviews 6- 8 weeks following bloodstream infection with either SAB or GNB. Patients were enrolled in an institutional registry (tertiary academic medical center) for SAB or GNB. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded. Directed content analysis identified a priori and emergent themes. Theme matrix techniques were used to facilitate analysis and presentation.


Interviews were completed with 30 patients with SAB and 31 patients with GNB. Most patients were at or near the end of intravenous antibiotic treatment when interviewed. We identified 3 primary high-level concepts: impact on QOL domains, time as a critical index, and sources of variability across patients. Across both types of bloodstream infection, the QOL domains most impacted were physical and functional, which was particularly evident among patients with SAB.


SAB/GNB impact QOL among survivors. In particular, SAB had major impacts on multiple QOL domains. A combination of existing, generic measures that are purposefully selected and disease-specific items, if necessary, could best capture these impacts. Engaging patients as stakeholders and obtaining their feedback is crucial to conducting patient-centered clinical trials and providing patient-centered care.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

King, Heather A, Sarah B Doernberg, Julie Miller, Kiran Grover, Megan Oakes, Felicia Ruffin, Sarah Gonzales, Abigail Rader, et al. (2021). Patients' Experiences With Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative Bacterial Bloodstream Infections: A Qualitative Descriptive Study and Concept Elicitation Phase To Inform Measurement of Patient-reported Quality of Life. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 73(2). pp. 237–247. 10.1093/cid/ciaa611 Retrieved from

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Heather Alyse King

Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences

Areas of expertise: Implementation Science, Health Services Research, and Health Measurement


Felicia Ruffin

Research Program Leader, Tier 1

Hayden Barry Bosworth

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Bosworth is a health services researcher and Deputy Director of the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT)  at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also Vice Chair of Education and Professor of Population Health Sciences. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing at Duke University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests comprise three overarching areas of research: 1) clinical research that provides knowledge for improving patients’ treatment adherence and self-management in chronic care; 2) translation research to improve access to quality of care; and 3) eliminate health care disparities. 

Dr. Bosworth is the recipient of an American Heart Association established investigator award, the 2013 VA Undersecretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (The annual award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers), and a VA Senior Career Scientist Award. In terms of self-management, Dr. Bosworth has expertise developing interventions to improve health behaviors related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, and depression, and has been developing and implementing tailored patient interventions to reduce the burden of other chronic diseases. These trials focus on motivating individuals to initiate health behaviors and sustaining them long term and use members of the healthcare team, particularly pharmacists and nurses. He has been the Principal Investigator of over 30 trials resulting in over 400 peer reviewed publications and four books. This work has been or is being implemented in multiple arenas including Medicaid of North Carolina, private payers, The United Kingdom National Health System Direct, Kaiser Health care system, and the Veterans Affairs.

Areas of Expertise: Health Behavior, Health Services Research, Implementation Science, Health Measurement, and Health Policy


Vance Garrison Fowler

Florence McAlister Distinguished Professor of Medicine

Determinants of Outcome in Patients with Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia
Antibacterial Resistance
Pathogenesis of Bacterial Infections
Tropical medicine/International Health


Thomas Lawrence Holland

Associate Professor of Medicine

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