The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of the use of BioFire® FilmArray® meningitis/encephalitis(FA-ME) panel which enables rapid automated CSF testing for 14 common viral, bacterial, and yeast pathogens that cause CNS infections, in the management of children with suspected CNS infection. A prospective cohort study was performed on children admitted to a tertiary pediatric hospital, over a period of 1 year, with possible CNS infection and CSF pleocytosis (> 15 cells/mm3). Children were randomized 1:1, either to use FA-ME or separate molecular CSF microbiological tests according to usual pediatric practice in the hospital. Length of hospital stay, duration of antimicrobials, and total cost of hospitalization were compared between groups. A total of 142 children were included in the study (71 cases). A pathogen was detected in 37/71(52.1%) children with the use of FA-ME and in 16/71(22.5%) in the control group (P value < 0.001). In aseptic meningitis cases a virus was detected in 27/61(44.2%) and in 11/66(16.7%) controls (P value < 0.001). Median (IQR) length of stay in cases and controls with aseptic meningitis was 5(4-8) and 8(6-10) days, respectively (P value < 0. 001). The median (IQR) duration of antimicrobials in cases and controls was 4(2-5.7) and 7(5-10) days, respectively (P value < 0.001). The hospitalization cost was calculated in cases and controls 1042€ (932-1372) and 1522€ (1302-1742), respectively (P value < 0.001). The use of FA-ME was able to reduce significantly the use of antimicrobials, the hospitalization days, and the total cost comparing to the control group in children with suspected CNS infection.
Keywords: Antibiotics; Aseptic; Cost; Encephalitis; FilmArray; Meningitis; PCR.