Impact and cost of the serum galactomannan assay at a tertiary care facility.

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Impact and cost of the serum galactomannan assay at a tertiary care facility.

Transplantation. 2014 Oct 15;98(7):773-80

Authors: Prasad P, Fishman JA

BACKGROUND: Invasive aspergillosis carries a high mortality with a rising prevalence in immunocompromised hosts. Diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis is challenging and delays in treatment are associated with poor outcomes. The galactomannan assay (GM), a non-culture-based surrogate marker of fungal infection, is widely used in diagnosis. It is unknown whether this assay impacts clinical decision making. We evaluated whether GM testing results in earlier initiation of antifungal therapy and is cost effective.
METHODS: We carried out a retrospective review of the electronic medical records of all patients undergoing GM at a 907-bed tertiary-care general hospital from July 11, 2011, to June 12, 2012. Records of patients with a positive GM were individually reviewed to determine the timing of the assay result, presence and timing of relevant culture data, whether BAL GM was performed, radiology data consistent with invasive aspergillosis, and the timing of initiation of antifungal therapy. For each case, it was determined whether GM results impacted the decision to initiate antifungal therapy.
RESULTS: Forty-six nonduplicate GM samples were positive (>0.5) of 1419 performed. Results were considered to be false positives in 18 cases by care teams. In 21 cases, antifungal therapy was initiated before the assay result based on clinical suspicion, culture data, and/or radiology. The serum GM was performed 164 times at a cost of $21,789 for a single positive result effecting modification of patient care.
CONCLUSION: Serum GM testing at a tertiary-care institution is commonly used but infrequently impacts clinical decision making with major financial burden.

PMID: 24825524 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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