This study examines the susceptibilities of meropenem and other broad-spectrum antimicrobials tested against bacterial isolates collected from hospitalized patients during 2002-2004 from worldwide medical centers participating in the Meropenem Yearly Susceptibility Test Information Collection (MYSTIC) Program. The in vitro activity of meropenem and 5 comparator antimicrobial agents was assessed against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter spp. Generally, the susceptibility of Australasian and North American isolates was higher than that of the European and South American isolates. The rank order of activity of the antimicrobial agents tested against a worldwide collection of P aeruginosa was piperacillin/tazobactam (77.7% susceptible) > meropenem (75.4%) > ceftazidime (70.0%) > imipenem (69.7%) > gentamicin (66.1%) > ciprofloxacin (62.0%). Against a worldwide collection of Acinetobacter spp. meropenem (76.1% susceptible) was the most active compound followed by imipenem (74.7%) > gentarnicin (51.9%) > ciprofloxacin (40.5%) > piperacillin/tazobactam (39.8%) > ceftazidime (38.1%). The carbapenems appear to be a valuable option for the treatment of serious nosocomial infections caused by P aeruginosa or Acinetobacter spp. over a broad geographical region. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.