Bloodstream infections are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Blood culture remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of BSIs. We report a prospective crossover diagnostic clinical trial comparing the performances of two blood culture incubation systems: Virtuo and Bactec FX. The primary outcome was the time to detection (TTD) (from the loading of the sample into the incubator to the positivity signal). Patients over 16 years old suspected of having bacteremia/fungemia were included. They were divided into two strata with a total of 9,957 blood extractions. Initially, each stratum was randomly assigned to one of the incubators and then alternated every 2 weeks for 6 months. Each sample was inoculated into an aerobic bottle and an anaerobic bottle. All bottles were processed equally according to the laboratory’s standard procedures after they were flagged positive. We analyzed 4,797 samples in the Virtuo system and 5,160 in the Bactec FX system. The median TTD was significantly lower for the Virtuo group (Virtuo, 15.2 h; Bactec FX, 16.3 h ). The turnaround time (TAT) (from sample loading to the Gram stain report) was also reduced with Virtuo (Virtuo, 26.2 h; Bactec FX, 28.3 h ). When considering only samples from patients with antimicrobial treatment prior to blood culture extraction, the TTD was shorter for Virtuo (median differences in the TTD of 4.5 h for all bottles and 8.7 h for aerobic bottles only ). In conclusion, virtuo provided shorter TTD and TAT than Bactec FX. The difference in the median TTD was increased when considering samples incubated in aerobic bottles from patients with antimicrobial treatment. This could have an important effect on the faster diagnosis of BSIs.
IMPORTANCE: Bloodstream infections are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Blood culture remains the gold standard for its diagnosis. While the identification of the pathogen and its antibiotic susceptibility is required to confirm the optimal antimicrobial regimen, reductions in the times to the detection of positivity and reporting of Gram stain results may be important and time-saving to reduce inappropriate antimicrobial use, improve patient outcomes, and decrease health care costs. We report the first clinical diagnostic study of this scale in a “real-world” setting with a crossover design, comparing two automatic blood culture incubators using samples from patients with a suspected diagnosis of bacteremia/sepsis, as opposed to spiked vials. Our study design mimics that of clinical trials performed for drug marketing authorization, but patient randomization was replaced with the crossover design. A shorter time to detection could have an important effect on the faster identification of causative microorganisms of BSIs and antimicrobial stewardship.Reference:
Halperin AV, Del Castillo Polo JA, Cortes-Cuevas JL, Cardenas Isasi MJ, Ampuero Morisaki M, Birch R, Sánchez Díaz AM, Cantón R. Impact of Automated Blood Culture Systems on the Management of Bloodstream Infections: Results from a Crossover Diagnostic Clinical Trial. Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Sep 12:e0143622. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.01436-22. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36094318.