Detection of bacteraemia in critically ill patients using 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing

Intensive Care Med. 2001 Aug;27(8):1269-73. doi: 10.1007/s001340100981.


Objective: To confirm the sensitivity of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique (versus blood cultures) and to gain a better understanding of the incidence of true- and false-positive results when using this technique.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: Fourteen-bed, level 3 intensive care unit.

Patients: Hundred twenty-six critically ill adult patients. Hundred ninety-seven blood culture and PCR samples taken as clinically indicated for suspected sepsis, according to routine ICU protocol.

Measurements and results: The PCR product (16SrDNA: 341F-1195R) was sequenced and compared with a database of known species (Genebank) to identify the bacterial nucleic acid. The PCR or blood culture result was classified as a true-positive if there was other microbiological or clinical supporting evidence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteremia / diagnosis*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Gene Library
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal