Background: Empiric antibiotic treatment is common among children with acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI), despite infections being predominately viral. The use of molecular respiratory panel assays has become increasingly common for medical care of patients with ARTIs.
Study design: This was a 6-year retrospective, single-centered study of pediatric inpatients who tested positive for an ARTI respiratory pathogen. We examined the relationship between clinical outcomes and whether the patient was tested using the Luminex Respiratory Viral Panel ([RVP]; in-use: Dec. 2009 - Jul. 2012) or Biofire Respiratory Pathogen Panel ([RP]; in-use Aug. 2012 - Jun. 2016). The prevalence and duration of pre-test empiric antibiotics, post-test oseltamivir administration to influenza patients, chest x-rays and length of stay between the two assays was compared.
Results: A total of 5142 patients (1264 RVP; 3878 RP) were included. The median laboratory turn-around-time for RP was significantly shorter than RVP (1.4 vs. 27.1 h, respectively; p < .001). Patients tested with RP were less likely to receive empiric antibiotics (OR: 0.45; p < .001; 95% CI: 0.39, 0.52) and had a shorter duration of empiric broad-spectrum antibiotics (6.4 h vs. 32.9 h; p < .001) compared to RVP patients. RP influenza patients had increased oseltamivir use post- test compared to RVP influenza patients (OR: 13.56; p < .001; 95% CI: 7.29, 25.20).
Conclusions: Rapid molecular testing positively impacts patient management of ARTIs. Adopting assays with a shorter turn-around-time improves decision making by decreasing empirical antibiotic use and duration, decreasing chest x-rays, increasing timely oseltamivir administration, and reducing length of stay.
Keywords: Acute respiratory tract infections; Antimicrobial stewardship; Pediatric; Rapid diagnostics.
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