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Retrospective analysis of 34 febrile neutropenia episodes - therapeutic implication of multiplex polymerase chain reaction in infection diagnosis

1 Department of Hemato Oncology, BGS Global Gleneagles Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Clinical Research, XCyton Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Pharmacy Practice, BGS Global Institute of Medical Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 Senior Consultant Oncologist and Radiotherapist, National Cancer Institute, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
Sachin Jadhav,
Department of Hemato Oncology, BGS Global Gleneagles Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_835_18

PMID: 34380857

Background: Hemato-oncologic patients on chemotherapy or undergoing bone marrow transplantation are susceptible to infections due to neutropenia. Incidences of febrile neutropenia (FN) in these patients are common, contributing to high mortality and morbidity. Lack of diagnosis of pathogens responsible for infections in these patients is a major healthcare challenge. Newer molecular diagnostics are increasingly becoming relevant. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Syndrome Evaluation System (SES), a multiplex molecular diagnostic platform for diagnosis of pathogens, and its impact on the management of FN. Methods: In total, 34 neutropenic episodes from 21 patients admitted during September 2013 to April 2015 were analyzed in this study. Clinical samples from patients were tested on SES and routine culture. Treatment was as per standard of care. Results: SES showed a 5-fold higher clinical sensitivity (55.9%) as compared to automated culture (11.1%). SES results were available within 14 hours as compared to >72 hours for culture, and elucidated change in antimicrobial therapy in 50% of episodes. Mortality rates were lower when SES was used early in the episode. De-escalation of antimicrobials according to SES results was possible, which translated into substantial cost saving. Conclusion: Newer non–culture-based molecular technologies like SES are changing the way we manage FN. It is faster, has a higher diagnostic yield as compared to traditional culture, and helps in making rapid, evidence-based therapeutic decision-making including de-escalation of antimicrobials. It would potentially lead to a reduction in mortality and healthcare cost in the long run.

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