What's New in Antibiograms? Updating CLSI M39 Guidance with Current Trends

Patricia J. Simner, Janet A. Hindler, Tanaya Bhowmick, Sanchita Das, J. Kristie Johnson, Brian V. Lubers, Mark A. Redell, John Stelling, Sharon M. Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A vast amount of antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST) data is generated from routine testing in diagnostic laboratories for the primary purpose of guiding clinicians in antimicrobial therapy decisions for their patients. However, there is additional value for these data when they are compiled at the local, regional, national, and global levels. Cumulative AST data can be used to prepare antibiograms at the individual health care facility level. These reports can be used to gain insight into appropriate empirical therapy options prior to the availability of AST results on an individual patient's isolate. Different types of cumulative AST data reports can also be compiled at the regional, national, and global levels to estimate susceptibility rates in geographic regions, document trends in evolving microbial populations, and recognize the appearance and spread of emerging antimicrobial resistance threats. The first CLSI M39 Guideline for Analysis and Presentation of Cumulative AST Data was published in 2000. Since that time, there have been changes to AST and reporting recommendations as well as the introduction of advanced informatics technologies to analyze and present data. The 5th edition of M39 has taken into consideration these changes to assist those who analyze, present, and utilize routine antibiograms and other types of cumulative AST data reports as well as those who design information systems for the capturing and analyzing of AST data. Furthermore, antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) have expanded considerably, and uses of the antibiogram by ASPs have been addressed. This minireview will remind users of the basic recommendations for analysis and presentation of antibiograms and provide new suggestions to enhance these reports.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


  • M39
  • antibiogram
  • antimicrobial susceptibility test
  • cumulative antimicrobial susceptibility testing report


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