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Background: There is growing interest in the potential utility of real-time PCR in diagnosing bloodstream infection by detecting pathogen DNA in blood samples within a few hours. SeptiFast is a multipathogen probe-based real-time PCR system targeting ribosomal DNA sequences of bacteria and fungi. It detects and identifies the commonest pathogens causing bloodstream infection and has European regulatory approval. The SeptiFast pathogen panel is suited to identifying healthcare-associated bloodstream infection acquired during complex healthcare, and the authors report here the protocol for the first detailed healthtechnology assessment of multiplex real-time PCR in this setting. Methods/design: A Phase III multicentre double-blinded diagnostic study will determine the clinical validity of SeptiFast for the rapid detection of healthcare-associated bloodstream infection, against the current service standard of microbiological culture, in an adequately sized population of critically ill adult patients. Results from SeptiFast and standard microbiological culture procedures in each patient will be compared at study conclusion and the metrics of clinical diagnostic accuracy of SeptiFast determined in this population setting. In addition, this study aims to assess further the preliminary evidence that the detection of pathogen DNA in the bloodstream using SeptiFast may have value in identifying the presence of infection elsewhere in the body. Furthermore, differences in circulating immuneinflammatory markers in patient groups differentiated by the presence/absence of culturable pathogens and pathogen DNA will help elucidate further the patho-physiology of infection developing in the critically ill. Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval has been granted by the North West 6 Research Ethics Committee (09/H1003/109). Based on the results of this first non-commercial study, independent recommendations will be made to The Department of Health (open-access health technology assessment report) as to whether SeptiFast has sufficient clinical diagnostic accuracy to move forward to efficacy testing during the provision of routine clinical care.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date