1887

Abstract

Pleural infections cause major morbidity and mortality, particularly amongst paediatric and elderly populations. The aetiology is broad, but pleural culture fails to yield a causative pathogen in approximately 40 % of cases. Alternative pathogen identification methods are therefore required. The aim of the study was to investigate the yield from and impact on patient care when performing 16S rRNA PCR on culture-negative pleural fluid specimens and to determine whether any individual laboratory parameters were associated with a positive 16S rRNA PCR result. We conducted a study on 90 patients with suspected pleural infection, who had a culture-negative pleural fluid specimen, which underwent 16S rRNA PCR analysis between August 2017 and June 2019. This study was undertaken at a large NHS Trust in London, UK. Thirty-one per cent of culture-negative pleural fluid specimens tested by 16S rRNA PCR yielded a positive PCR result. Our data demonstrated that 16S rRNA PCR detected a significantly higher proportion of (<0.0001) and fastidious, slow-growing and anaerobic pathogens (=0.0025) compared with culture-based methods. Of the 25 16S rRNA PCR results that were positive for a causative pathogen, 76 % had a direct impact on clinical management. No single laboratory variable was found to be associated with a positive 16S rRNA PCR result. The findings from our real-world evaluation highlight the importance of 16S rRNA PCR in confirming pleural infection when the aetiology is unknown, and its direct, positive impact on clinical management.

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/content/journal/jmm/10.1099/jmm.0.001366
2021-05-26
2022-01-24
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