Brief Reports

Impact of in‐hospital enteroviral polymerase chain reaction testing on the clinical management of children with meningitis

Abstract

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Enteroviral meningitis is a common cause of meningitis in children which requires only supportive care.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the impact of implementing an in‐hospital enteroviral polymerase chain reaction (EVPCR) testing protocol on the clinical management of children with meningitis.

DESIGN:

Retrospective cohort study.

POPULATION:

Children <19 years old with meningitis.

INTERVENTION:

EVPCR testing differed by time period: send‐out testing protocol from July 1, 2006–June 23, 2008 (pre‐period) versus in‐house testing protocol from June 24, 2008–June 30, 2010 (post‐period).

MEASUREMENTS:

Test turnaround time, test utilization, length of stay, and duration of parenteral antibiotics.

RESULTS:

Of the 441 study patients, 216 (49%) presented during the post‐period. Median age was 2.9 months (interquartile range, 1.5–96 months). Test turnaround time decreased with the in‐house test (53 hours pre vs 13 hours post, P < 0.001), and test utilization increased (28% pre vs 62% post, P < 0.001). Among children with a positive EVPCR test, both length of stay (44 hours pre vs 28 hours post, P = 0.005) and duration of parenteral antibiotics (48 hours pre vs 36 hours post, P = 0.04) decreased in the post‐period. No change in either of these outcomes was observed in children with meningitis and a negative EVPCR test.

CONCLUSION:

In‐house EVPCR testing reduced test turnaround time, increased test utilization, and reduced both length of stay and duration of parenteral antibiotics for children with a positive result. Clinicians caring for children with meningitis should have access to in‐hospital EVPCR testing. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2012; © 2012 Society of Hospital Medicine

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