Blackpool hospitals use genetic testing to reduce MRSA
22 November 2012
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has
introduced rapid screening for the superbug MRSA of all emergency
admissions patients, and both MRSA and MSSA for surgical patients
admitted through A&E.
The Trust uses the BD GeneOhm Assay, an in vitro
diagnostic test that uses nasal swabs in patients at risk of
colonisation. The technology used in the assay is rapid polymerase
chain reaction (PCR) testing method that enables identification of
the infection through its DNA.
The test gives definitive results in just two hours as opposed to
the two to five days associated with traditional culture methods.
This enables timely reporting, aides the clinical decision making
process and ensures that high standards are maintained, costs are
dramatically reduced and healthcare associated infection (HAIs) are
kept to a minimum.
The Trust carried out an initial 12-month pilot study of
screening all emergency patients using the rapid PCR testing method.
The results saw the number of MRSA bacteraemia fall dramatically
from the pre-study to pilot study period, and demonstrated clinical
benefits & economic advantages of using rapid screening techniques.
In August 2010 the programme was extended to include MSSA (methicillin-sensitive
Staphylococcus aureus) for all surgical patients admitted
through A&E. Preliminary data also shows a significant drop in MSSA
bacteraemia from 2009/10 to 2011/12.
Dr Achyut Guleri, Consultant Microbiologist and Head of
Department for Clinical Laboratory Medicine at Blackpool Teaching
Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says: “The rapid PCR screening system
enables timely reporting, aides the clinical decision making process
and ensures that high standards of patient management are
maintained. Reduced healthcare associated infections are associated
with significant cost savings that can be re-invested in other areas
of healthcare, transforming patient care in the Fylde coast”.
The trust has carefully considered the clinical benefits and
economic advantages of the programme and extended it beyond the
pilot. Since the introduction of rapid PCR screening, the number of
positive MRSA and MSSA infections including bacteraemias at the
hospital have continued to decline with associated reduction in the
average length of stay.