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Diagnostic Performance and Therapeutic Impact of PCR Assay in Patients with Suspected Sepsis

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Rapid and reliable identification of pathogens is very important in the management of septic patients. We retrospectively evaluated the diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay (SeptiFast (SF)) in patients with suspected sepsis in a tertiary care hospital in Tallinn, Estonia. A total of 160 blood samples from 144 patients were included in the study. SF results were compared with corresponding blood culture (BC) results. The concordance between SF and BC was 78.8%. The rate of positive results was significantly higher in SF than in BC (33.7% vs. 21.2%, respectively; p < 0.001). A total of 27 samples were found positive by both SF and BC, 27 by SF only, and seven by BC only. Of a total of 83 microorganisms detected SF identified 71, and BC 42 (p < 0.001). SF detected markedly more patients with candidemia: 11 patients were detected by SF compared to four patients by BC. Antimicrobial treatment was changed in 21 (38.9%) of 54 SF positive cases. In conclusion, our results demonstrated the high diagnostic accuracy of SF in detection of sepsis pathogens. In conjunction with its impact on therapeutic decisions, SF proved to be a useful adjunct to conventional blood culture in the diagnosis of sepsis etiology.

This article is published online in European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology and is free to access.