Association of the FilmArray Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel With Clinical Management

Hosp Pediatr. 2019 Oct;9(10):763-769. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2019-0064. Epub 2019 Sep 11.


Objectives: To determine the association of the use of the multiplex assay meningitis/encephalitis panel with clinical management of suspected meningitis.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with children 0 to 18 years of age who received a lumbar puncture within 48 hours of admission for an infectious workup. Patient demographic and presenting information, laboratory studies, and medication administration were collected. The primary measure was length of stay (LOS) with secondary measures: time on antibiotics, time to narrowing antibiotics, and acyclovir doses. LOS and antibiotic times were stratified for outcomes occurring before 36 hours. Logistic regression analysis was used to account for potential confounding factors associated with both the primary and secondary outcomes. A value of P < .05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Meningitis panel use was associated with a higher likelihood of a patient LOS <36 hours (P = .04; odds ratio = 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03-2.87), a time to narrowing antibiotics <36 hours (P = .008; odds ratio = 1.89; 95% CI: 1.18-2.87), and doses of acyclovir (P < .001; incidence rate ratio = 0.37; 95% CI: 0.26-0.53). When controlling for potential confounding factors, these associations persisted.

Conclusions: Use of the meningitis panel was associated with a decreased LOS, time to narrowing of antibiotics, and fewer acyclovir doses. This likely is a result of the rapid turnaround time as compared with cerebrospinal fluid cultures. Additional studies to examine the outcomes related to this change in management are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / diagnosis*
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / drug therapy
  • Enterovirus Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Enterovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Enterovirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / diagnosis*
  • Meningitis, Pneumococcal / drug therapy
  • Meningitis, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Meningitis, Viral / drug therapy
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Roseolovirus Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Roseolovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Roseolovirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Spinal Puncture


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir