Stephan Harbarth and colleagues from Geneva University Hospitals used qMRSA, a new screening method that identifies MRSA's DNA in patient swabs, to test 1,053 patients on admission to the medical ICU and the surgical ICU in Geneva University Hospital. The study period lasted from January 2003 to August 2005. Harbarth et al. compared the time it took to get the results of qMRSA with historical records of the time taken to get notification of test results using the standard microbiological methods.
Harbarth et al. show that with qMRSA, the median time from ICU admission to notification of test results decreased from 87 hours to 21 hours in the surgical ICU and from 106 hours to 23 hours in the medical ICU. Isolating infected patients immediately after MRSA detection substantially decreased MRSA infections in the medical ICU but not in the surgical ICU. In the surgical ICU, qMRSA spared 245 MRSA-negative patients a total of 1,227 unnecessary days in isolation.
Evaluation of a rapid screening test for detecting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in critical care: an interventional cohort study
Stephan Harbarth, Cristina Masuet, Jacques Schrenzel, Patrice Francois, Christophe Akakpo, Gesuele Renzi, Jerome Pugin, Bara Ricou and Didier Pittet
Critical Care 2006, 10:R25 (6 February 2006) doi:10.1186/cc3982