Issue: 2018 > August > original article

Syndromic sample-to-result PCR testing for respiratory infections in adult patients

L.M. Vos, A. Riezebos-Brilman, R. Schuurman, A.I.M. Hoepelman, J.J. Oosterheert
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Background: Syndromic sample-to-result (SS2R) poly merase chain reaction (PCR) can rapidly identify causative pathogens of respiratory tract infections (RTI). We evaluated diagnostic accuracy and applicability of one of the current SS2R diagnostics, the FilmArray® Respiratory Viral Panel.
Methods: We performed a prospective study among adults presenting with symptoms of RTI at the Emergency Department of the University Medical Centre Utrecht (the Netherlands) during the 2016-2017 viral respiratory season. Clinical data were collected. We compared SS2R results on nasopharyngeal swabs to conventional real time PCR, calculated turnaround times (TAT) and explored implementation barriers using questionnaires.
Results: 62 Patients were included (64.5 yr [interquartile range (IQR) 44.3-75.0]). SS2R sensitivity was 82.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 67.9-92.9] and specificity was 95.2% [95% CI 76.2-99.9] for detection of all present viruses (n = 60). Kappa agreement (0.73 [95% CI 0.56-0.90]) was good (p = 0.000). Median SS2R TAT was 2:06 hours [IQR 1:45-3:17] compared to 32:00 hours [IQR 26:50-40:42] of conventional PCR (n = 49, p = 0.000). Ease-of-use and fast TAT were unanimously reported as benefits, and low test capacity with a single SS2R system as drawback.
Conclusion: SS2R testing for respiratory viruses offers a rapid and reliable diagnostic method which has great potential for more efficient and targeted management in adult patients with RTI.