Evaluation of a Novel Multiplex PCR Panel Compared to Quantitative Bacterial Culture for Diagnosis of Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

Mackenzie E. CollinsElena B. PopowitchMelissa B. Miller
Geoffrey A. Land, Editor


Quantitative bacterial culture of bronchoalveolar lavage fluids (BALF) is labor-intensive, and the delay involved in performing culture, definitive identification, and susceptibility testing often results in prolonged use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. The Unyvero lower respiratory tract (LRT) panel (Curetis, Holzgerlingen, Germany) allows the multiplexed rapid detection and identification of 20 potential etiologic agents of pneumonia within 5 h of collection. In addition, the assay includes detection of gene sequences that confer antimicrobial resistance. We retrospectively compared the performance of the molecular panel to routine quantitative bacterial culture methods on remnant BALF. Upon testing 175 BALF, we were able to analyze positive agreement of 181 targets from 129 samples, and 46 samples were negative. The positive percent agreement (PPA) among the microbial targets was 96.5%, and the negative percent agreement (NPA) was 99.6%. The targets with a PPA of <100% were Staphylococcus aureus (34/37 [91.9%]), Streptococcus pneumoniae (10/11 [90.9%]), and Enterobacter cloacae complex (2/4 [50%]). For the analyzable resistance targets, concordance with phenotypic susceptibility testing was 79% (14/18). This study found the Unyvero LRT panel largely concordant with culture results; however, no outcome or clinical impact studies were performed.