Objective: Aminoglycosides were introduced into use over 60 years ago. The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), a tertiary care teaching hospital, in Kingston, Jamaica, introduced the use of gentamicin in 1973 and amikacin in 1980. This report examined the susceptibility patterns to these agents in 1547 consecutive isolates of Gram negative bacilli (GNB) encountered between September 1 and November 30, 2011, at UHWI and compares the data with that observed previously in 1981 at the same institution.
Methods: The Vitek 2 (bioMeriéux, Durham, NC) was used for isolate identification, minimum inhibitory concentration determination and aminoglycoside susceptibility testing. Quality control was done using American Type Culture Collection standard strains of E coli (ATCC 25922) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 27853).
Results: Of the 1547 organisms, 267 had resistance to one or both aminoglycosides. Amikacin resistance increased from 0.6% (1981) to 7.2%  (p< 0.05), while gentamicin resistance increased from 6.7% to 14.8% (p < 0.05) for the corresponding period. The majority of samples with aminoglycoside resistant organisms came from the intensive care unit and surgical inpatients. Urine samples persistently produced the largest amount of gentamicin resistant isolates.
Conclusions: Although there has been a statistically significant rise in aminoglycoside resistance, aminoglycosides continue to remain highly effective against approximately 83% of GNB despite continuous usage at this institution for over three decades. Continued national surveillance, implementation of infection control policies and antibiotic stewardship are all essential in retaining low resistance levels.