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Microbial aetiology of community-acquired pneumonia in hospitalized adults: a prospective study utilising comprehensive molecular testing.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to describe the microbial aetiology of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in adults admitted to a tertiary care hospital and assess the impact of syndromic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) panels on pathogen detection.

METHODS: Conducted at Haukeland University Hospital, Norway, from September 2020 to April 2023, this prospective study enrolled adults with suspected CAP. We analyzed lower respiratory tract samples using both standard-of-care tests and the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Pneumonia Plus Panel (FAP plus). The added value of FAP Plus in enhancing the detection of clinically relevant pathogens, alongside standard-of-care diagnostics, was assessed.

RESULTS: Of the 3,238 patients screened, 640 met the inclusion criteria, with 384 confirmed to have CAP at discharge. In these patients, pathogens with proven or probable clinical significance were identified in 312 (81.3%) patients. Haemophilus influenzae was the most prevalent pathogen, found in 118 patients (30.7%), followed by SARS-CoV-2 in 74 (19.3%), and Streptococcus pneumoniae in 64 (16.7%). Respiratory viruses were detected in 186 (48.4%) patients. The use of FAP plus improved the pathogen detection rate from 62.8% with standard-of-care methods to 81.3%.

CONCLUSIONS: Pathogens were identified in 81% of CAP patients, with Haemophilus influenzae and respiratory viruses being the most frequently detected pathogens. The addition of the FAP plus panel, markedly improved pathogen detection rates compared to standard of care diagnostics alone.

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