Rub DM, Dhudasia MB, Healy T, Mukhopadhyay S. Role of microbiological tests and biomarkers in antibiotic stewardship. Semin Perinatol. 2020 Dec;44(8):151328. doi: 10.1016/j.semperi.2020.151328. Epub 2020 Oct 12. PMID: 33158600.
Laboratory tests are critical in the detection and timely treatment of infection. Two categories of tests are commonly used in neonatal sepsis management: those that identify the pathogen and those that detect host response to a potential pathogen. Decision-making around antibiotic choice is related to the performance of tests that directly identify pathogens. Advances in these tests hold the key to progress in antibiotic stewardship. Tests measuring host response, on the other hand, are an indirect marker of potential infection. While an important measure of the patient’s clinical state, in the absence of pathogen detection these tests cannot confirm the appropriateness of antibiotic selection. The overall impact these tests then have on antibiotic utilization depends the test’s specificity for bacterial infection, clinical scenario where it is being used and the decision-rule it is being integrated into for use. In this review we discuss common and emerging laboratory tests available for assisting management of neonatal infection and specifically focus on the role they play in optimizing antibiotic utilization.
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