The objective of this paper was to investigate whether retrospective pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates at two-year intervals is suitable and sufficient to demonstrate changes in the clonal composition of MRSA isolates and to identify previously undetected local outbreaks. PFGE patterns of 400 MRSA isolates were collected between 2004 and 2008 at the University of Rostock Hospital in Germany, and were used to assess the prevalence of MRSA clones at different time points. Only minor changes were detected. The combined analysis of all isolates that were collected per year reduced the time needed to perform this laborious procedure. The retrospective identification of outbreaks may require shorter intervals. Improved infection prevention and control measures prevented further outbreaks in previously affected hospital departments. In conclusion, PGFE at two-year intervals is sufficient to detect changes in the clonal composition of local MRSA isolates. If time for identification is important during outbreak investigations, more rapid methods with a similarly high discriminatory power such as spa typing should be used.