University of Limerick
Teoh_2021_Retrospective.pdf (851.18 kB)

A retrospective observational study of the impact of 16s and 18s ribosomal RNA PCR on antimicrobial treatment over seven years: A tertiary hospital experience

Download (851.18 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-23, 14:14 authored by TeeKeat Teoh, Rachel McNamara, James Powell, Nuala H. O'Connell, COLUM DUNNECOLUM DUNNE
Although culture-based methods remain a staple element of microbiology analysis advanced molecular methods increasingly supplement the testing repertoire. Since the advent of 16s and 18s ribosomal RNA PCR in the 2000s, there has been interest in its utility for pathogen detection. Nonetheless, studies assessing the impact on antimicrobial prescribing are limited. We report a single-centre experience of the influence of 16s and 18s PCR testing on antimicrobial treatment, including a cost-analysis. Methods Data were collected retrospectively for all samples sent for 16s and 18s PCR testing between January 2014 and December 2020. Results were compared to any culture-based result. Assessment focused on any change of antimicrobial treatment based on PCR result, or use of the result as supportive evidence for microbiological diagnosis. Results 310 samples relevant to 268 patients were referred for 16s/18s rRNA PCR testing during the period. Culture was performed for 234 samples. Enrichment culture was performed for 83 samples. 82 of 300 samples sent for 16s PCR had positive results (20.8%). When culture was performed, enrichment reduced the outcome of 16s PCR only positive results (4/36 [11.1%] versus 14/35 [40.0%], p = 0.030 where a pathogen found). 18s PCR yielded 9 positive results from 67 samples. The 16s PCR result influenced antimicrobial change for 6 patients (2.2%). We estimated the cost for 16s PCR testing to result in one significant change in antimicrobial therapy to be €3,340. 18s PCR did not alter antimicrobial treatment.



PLoS ONE;16(10), e0258552


Public Library of Science





Also affiliated with

  • 4i - Centre for Interventions in Infection, Inflammation & Immunity

Usage metrics

    University of Limerick


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager