Impact of rapid urine antigen tests to determine the etiology of community-acquired pneumonia in adults

Respir Med. 2006 May;100(5):884-91. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2005.08.020. Epub 2005 Oct 12.


Study objectives: To evaluate the rapid urine antigen tests, including a new rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT) for the detection of the Streptococcus pneumoniae antigen and an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for the detection of the Legionella antigen, in order to improve the diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in adults.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: A tertiary hospital in Spain.

Patients: We consecutively recruited 107 adults with CAP evaluated at our hospital.

Interventions: The analyses included blood and sputum cultures, pleural fluid culture (if present) and serologic studies. The detection of the Legionella pneumophila urinary antigen was performed by EIA, and the detection of S. pneumoniae antigen in urine samples was performed by counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE) and a rapid ICT.

Results: Using conventional microbiologic tests we succeeded in performing the etiologic diagnosis of 39 out of the 107 cases (36.4%). The inclusion of rapid antigen detection techniques increased the percentage of diagnosis to 54.2%, which represents a total increase of 17.8% (P=0.034).

Conclusions: The data obtained in this study indicate that rapid urine antigen tests are very useful to determine CAP etiology in adults and, consequently, to quickly identify a group of patients in whom narrow spectrum antibiotics may be used.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Bacterial / urine*
  • Chromatography / methods
  • Community-Acquired Infections / diagnosis
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Legionella pneumophila / immunology
  • Legionella pneumophila / isolation & purification*
  • Legionellosis / diagnosis*
  • Legionellosis / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / urine
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spain
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic