Rapid Diagnosis of Infection in the Critically Ill

The rapid diagnosis of infection and early initiation of appropriate antimicrobials is essential to optimizing an intensive care unit patient’s chances of survival. However, current culture-based pathogen identification is slow and unreliable. In contrast, polymerase chain reaction followed by electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) does not depend on the growth of organisms in culture and may offer a distinct advantage over currently available methods. The Rapid Diagnosis of Infections in the Critically Ill (RADICAL) study is a multicenter observational study conducted by Vincent et al, with the aim of comparing results obtained using PCR/ESI-MS technology and standard culture.

The authors found that PCR/ESI-MS provides rapid pathogen identification in critically ill patients.

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