Conventional methods for the identification of gastrointestinal pathogens are time-consuming and expensive and have limited sensitivity. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical impact of a comprehensive molecular test, the BioFire FilmArray gastrointestinal (GI) panel, which tests for many of the most common agents of infectious diarrhea in approximately 1 h. Patients with stool cultures submitted were tested on the GI panel (n = 241) and were compared with control patients (n = 594) from the year prior. The most common organisms detected by the GI panel were enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC, n = 21), norovirus (n = 21), rotavirus (n = 15), sapovirus (n = 9), and Salmonella (n = 8). Patients tested on the GI panel had an average of 0.58 other infectious stool tests compared with 3.02 in the control group (P = 0.0001). The numbers of days on antibiotic(s) per patient were 1.73 in the cases and 2.12 in the controls (P = 0.06). Patients with the GI panel had 0.18 abdomen and/or pelvic imaging studies per patient compared with 0.39 (P = 0.0002) in the controls. The average length of time from stool culture collection to discharge was 3.4 days in the GI panel group versus 3.9 days in the controls (P = 0.04). The overall health care cost could have decreased by $293.61 per patient tested. The GI panel improved patient care by rapidly identifying a broad range of pathogens which may not have otherwise been detected, reducing the need for other diagnostic tests, reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics, and leading to a reduction in hospital length of stay.
Keywords: PCR; clinical management; diarrhea; gastroenteritis; gastrointestinal infection; molecular panel; norovirus; salmonella; syndromic testing.
Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.