Impact of Enteroviral Polymerase Chain Reaction Testing on Length of Stay for Infants 60 Days Old or Younger

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the impact of a cerebrospinal fluid enterovirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test performance on hospital length of stay (LOS) in a large multicenter cohort of infants undergoing evaluation for central nervous system infection.

Study design

We performed a planned secondary analysis of a retrospective cohort of hospitalized infants ≤60 days of age who had a cerebrospinal fluid culture obtained at 1 of 18 participating centers (2005–2013). After adjustment for patient age and study year as well as clustering by hospital center, we compared LOS for infants who had an enterovirus PCR test performed vs not performed and among those tested, for infants with a positive vs negative test result.

Results

Of 19 953 hospitalized infants, 4444 (22.3%) had an enterovirus PCR test performed and 945 (21.3% of tested infants) had positive test results. Hospital LOS was similar for infants who had an enterovirus PCR test performed compared with infants who did not (incident rate ratio 0.98 hours; 95% CI 0.89–1.06). However, infants PCR positive for enterovirus had a 38% shorter LOS than infants PCR negative for enterovirus (incident rate ratio 0.62 hours; 95% CI 0.57–0.68). No infant with a positive enterovirus PCR test had bacterial meningitis (0%; 95% CI 0–0.4).

Conclusions

Although enterovirus PCR testing was not associated with a reduction in LOS, infants with a positive enterovirus PCR test had a one-third shorter LOS compared with infants with a negative enterovirus PCR test. Focused enterovirus PCR test use could increase the impact on LOS for infants undergoing cerebrospinal fluid evaluation.

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