Trials. 2021 Oct 7;22(1):680. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05618-6.
BACKGROUND: Hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonias (HAP and VAP) are common in critical care and can be life-threatening. Rapid microbiological diagnostics, linked to an algorithm to translate their results into antibiotic choices, could simultaneously improve patient outcomes and antimicrobial stewardship.
METHODS: The INHALE Randomised Controlled Trial is a multi-centre, parallel study exploring the potential of the BioFire FilmArray molecular diagnostic to guide antibiotic treatment of HAP/VAP in intensive care units (ICU); it identifies pathogens and key antibiotic resistance in around 90 min. The comparator is standard care whereby the patient receives empirical antibiotics until microbiological culture results become available, typically after 48-72 h. Adult and paediatric ICU patients are eligible if they are about to receive antibiotics for a suspected lower respiratory infection (including HAP/VAP) for the first time or a change in antibiotic because of a deteriorating clinical condition. Breathing spontaneously or intubated, they must have been hospitalised for 48 h or more. Patients are randomised 1:1 to receive either antibiotics guided by the FilmArray molecular diagnostic and its trial-based prescribing algorithm or standard care, meaning empirical antibiotics based on local policy, adapted subsequently based upon local microbiology culture results. Co-primary outcomes are (i) non-inferiority in clinical cure of pneumonia at 14 days post-randomisation and (ii) superiority in antimicrobial stewardship at 24 h post-randomisation (defined as % of patients on active and proportionate antibiotics). Secondary outcomes include further stewardship reviews; length of ICU stay; co-morbidity indicators, including septic shock, change in sequential organ failure assessment scores, and secondary pneumonias; ventilator-free days; adverse events over 21 days; all-cause mortality; and total antibiotic usage. Both cost-effectiveness of the molecular diagnostic-guided therapy and behavioural aspects determining antibiotic prescribing are being explored. A sample size of 552 will be required to detect clinically significant results with 90% power and 5% significance for the co-primary outcomes.
DISCUSSION: This trial will test whether the potential merits of rapid molecular diagnostics for pathogen and resistance detection in HAP/VAP are realised in patient outcomes and/or improved antibiotic stewardship.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN16483855 . Retrospectively registered on 15 July 2019.