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Infection is a common complication seen in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Given the correlation between infection and mortality in these patients, a rapid etiological diagnosis and the determination of antimicrobial resistance markers are of paramount importance, especially in view of today’s globally spread of multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Burillo and Bouza (2014) review some of the rapid diagnostic techniques available for ICU patients with infections.
A narrative review of recent peer-reviewed literature (published between 1995 and 2014) was performed using as the search terms: Intensive care medicine, Microbiological techniques, Clinical laboratory techniques, Diagnosis, and Rapid diagnosis, with no language restrictions.
The most developed microbiology fields for a rapid diagnosis of infection in critically ill patients are those related to the diagnosis of bloodstream infection, pneumonia –both ventilator associated and non-ventilator associated–, urinary tract infection, skin and soft tissue infections, viral infections and tuberculosis.
The researchers concluded that new developments in the field of microbiology have served to shorten turnaround times and optimize the treatment of many types of infection. Although there are still some unresolved limitations of the use of molecular techniques for a rapid diagnosis of infection in the ICU patient, they say this approach holds much promise for the future. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.
Reference: Burillo A and Bouza E. Use of rapid diagnostic techniques in ICU patients with infections. BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:593 doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0593-1