The Shapiro-Procalcitonin algorithm (SPA) as a decision tool for blood culture sampling: validation in a prospective cohort study

Link to article at PubMed

Wyss G, et al. Infection 2020.


PURPOSE: Blood cultures (BC) are the gold standard for bacteremia detection despite a relatively low diagnostic yield and high costs. A retrospective study reported high predictive values for BC positivity when combining the clinical Shapiro score with procalcitonin (PCT).

METHODS: Single-center, prospective cohort study between 01/2016 and 02/2017 to validate SPA algorithm, including a modified Shapiro score ≥ 3 points (S) PLUS admission PCT > 0.25 µg/l (P), or presence of overruling safety criteria (A) in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome. The diagnostic yield of SPA compared to non-standardized clinical judgment in predicting BC positivity was calculated and results presented as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: Of 1438 patients with BC sampling, 215 (15%) had positive BC which increased to 31% (173/555) in patients fulfilling SP criteria (OR for BC positivity 9.07 [6.34-12.97]). When adding 194 patients with overruling safety criteria (i.e., SPA), OR increased to 11.12 (6.99-17.69), although BC positivity slightly decreased to 26%. With an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.742, SPA indicated better diagnostic performance than its individual components. Positive BC in 689 patients not fulfilling SPA (sampling according to non-standardized clinical judgment) were rare (3%; OR for BC positivity 0.09 [0.06-0.14]). Eight out of 21 missed pathogens were still identified by sampling the primary infection focus.

CONCLUSIONS: This study validates the high predictive value of SPA for bacteremia, increasing true BC positivity from 15 to 26%. Restricting BC sampling to SPA would have reduced BC sampling by 48%, while still detecting 194/215 organisms (90%), which makes SPA a valuable diagnostic stewardship tool.

PMID:32291611 | DOI:10.1007/s15010-020-01423-6

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