INTRODUCTION: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Rapid and accurate detection of lower respiratory tract colonization and/or infection with P. aeruginosa may advise targeted preventive (antibody-based) strategies and antibiotic therapy. To investigate this, we compared semi-quantitative culture results from 80 endotracheal aspirates (ETA) collected from mechanically-ventilated patients, to two culture and two non-culture-based methods for detection of P. aeruginosa.
METHODS: P. aeruginosa-positive (n = 40) and -negative (n = 40) ETAs from mechanically ventilated patients analyzed initally by (i) routine semi-quantitative culture, were further analyzed with (ii) quantitative culture on chromogenic ChromID P. aeruginosa and blood agar; (iii) enrichment in brain heart infusion broth followed by plating on blood agar and ChromID P. aeruginosa; (iv) O-antigen acetylase gene-based TaqMan qPCR; and (v) GeneXpert PA PCR assay.
RESULTS: Of the 80 ETA samples included, one sample that was negative for P. aeruginosa by semi-quantitative culture was found to be positive by the other four methods, and was included in an "extended" gold standard panel. Based on this extended gold standard, both semi-quantitative culture and the GeneXpert PA assay showed 97.6% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The quantitative culture, enrichment culture and O-antigen acetylase gene-based TaqMan qPCR had a sensitivity of 97.6%, 89.5%, 92.7%, and a specificity of 97.4%, 100%, and 71.1%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: This first evaluation of the GeneXpert PA assay with ETA samples found it to be as sensitive and specific as the routine, hospital-based semi-quantitative culture method. Additionally, the GeneXpert PA assay is easy to perform (hands-on time ≈ 5 min) and rapid (≈ 55 min assay time). The combination of the high sensitivity and high specificity together with the rapid acquisition of results makes the GeneXpert PA assay a highly recommended screening technique. Where this equipment is not available, semi-quantitative culture remains the most sensitive of the culture methods evaluated here for P. aeruginosa detection in ETA samples.
- Bacteriological Techniques/methods
- Polymerase Chain Reaction
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa/isolation & purification
- Respiration, Artificial
- Sensitivity and Specificity