Usefulness of point-of-care multiplex PCR to rapidly identify pathogens responsible for ventilator-associated pneumonia and their resistance to antibiotics: an observational study

Luyt CE, et al. Crit Care 2020.


BACKGROUND: The use of multiplex PCR to shorten time to identification of pathogens and their resistance mechanisms for patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is attractive, but poorly studied. The multiplex PCR-based Unyvero pneumonia cartridge assay can directly identify 20 bacteria and one fungus, amongst the most frequently causing VAP, and 19 of their resistance markers in clinical specimens (bronchoalveolar lavage or tracheal aspirate), with a turnaround time of 4-5 h. We performed this study to evaluate the concordance between the multiplex PCR-based Unyvero pneumonia cartridge assay and conventional microbiological techniques to identify pathogens and their resistance mechanisms in patients with VAP.

METHODS: All patients suspected of having VAP (January 2016 to January 2019), who underwent fiberoptic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and whose BALF microscopy examination revealed intracellular bacteria, were included. BALF conventional cultures (gold standard), antimicrobial susceptibility testing and processing for the Unyvero pneumonia cartridge were done. Culture and Unyvero results were compared.

RESULTS: Compared to cultures of the 93 samples processed for both techniques, Unyvero correctly identified pathogens in 68 (73%) proven VAP episodes, was discordant for 25 (27%), detected no pathogen in 11 and overdetected a not otherwise found pathogen in six. For the eight remaining discordant results, the pathogen responsible for VAP was not included in the Unyvero cartridge panel or it grew at a non-significant level in culture. Amongst the 31 (33%) resistance mechanism discordances observed, 22 were resistance detection failures and 24 concerned Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to conventional microbiological cultures, the Unyvero pneumonia cartridge had poor diagnostic performance: it correctly identified pathogens and their resistance mechanisms in 73% and 67% of VAP cases, respectively. The lack of performance on the resistance mechanism was more pronounced when the pathogen detected was a Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

PMID:32586347 | PMC:PMC7316635 | DOI:10.1186/s13054-020-03102-2