Velly et al., Point-of-care multiplex molecular diagnosis coupled with procalcitonin-guided algorithm for antibiotic stewardship in lower respiratory tract infection: a randomized controlled trial, Clin Microbiol Infect, 2023

L Velly, M Cancella de Abreu, D Boutolleau, I Cherubini, E Houas, A Aurousseau, P Hausfater

Clin Microbiol Infect, 2023 Aug 5, doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2023.07.031


Objective: We aimed to show that coupling molecular syndromic respiratory panel (RP) testing with procalcitonin (PCT) measurement in the emergency department improves antibiotic (ATB) stewardship in lower respiratory tract infection.

Methods: Open-label, prospective, randomized interventional trial, conducted from 2019 to 2022 in an adult emergency department. Patients with a suspicion of lower respiratory tract infection were randomized into an intervention arm (PCT measurement and point-of-care BIOFIRE RP2.1 plus testing, accompanied by a recommended ATB algorithm) or a standard of care (SOC) arm (PCT allowed as current practice). The primary endpoint was the duration of antibiotic exposure.

Results: Four hundred fifty-one patients were randomized, median age 65 years (Q1-Q3: 49-77), the hospitalization rate was 59.9% (270/451), the median length of stay 5 days (Q1-Q3: 3 – 12), and the 28-day mortality rate 5.3% (23/451). The median duration of ATB exposure was 6 days (Q1-Q3: 0-9) and 5 days (Q1-Q3: 0-9) in the SOC and interventional arm respectively (p = 0.71). ATB was started in 29.6 % (67/226) and 33.8% (76/225) respectively (p = 0.54). The BIOFIRE RP2.1 plus identified at least one viral species in 112/225 patients (49.8%) of intervention arm. Two hundred twelve out of two hundred twenty-six (93.8%) SOC patients had PCT measurement. The adherence rate to algorithm in the intervention arm was 93.3 % (210/225).

Conclusion: Displaying PCT and real-time RP results to emergency physicians failed to significantly reduce ATB exposure in lower respiratory tract infection suspicions. However, the median ATB duration and rate of initiation were already low in the SOC arm using PCT measurement routinely.