Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Aug 31. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0444. Online ahead of print.
False-negative rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT) results could mislead physicians to exclude an influenza diagnosis. We sought to evaluate the association between negative RIDT and intensive care unit (ICU) admission. We reviewed data from hospitalized adults with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in a tertiary referral hospital in Taiwan from July 2009 to February 2011. The diagnosis was documented by real-time PCR or virus culture. Of 134 hospitalized adults infected with influenza virus, 38 (28%) were admitted to the ICU. Compared with RIDT-positive patients, the percentage of ICU admission was significantly higher among RIDT-negative patients (46% versus 13%, P < 0.001). The RIDT-negative patients had higher percentages of lower respiratory symptoms and more chest radiograph infiltrates. The time interval between the RIDT and antiviral treatment was longer in RIDT-negative than RIDT-positive patients (1.94 days versus 0.03 days, P < 0.001). Among patients presenting with mild illness, only a negative RIDT and delayed antiviral treatment were associated with ICU admission after adjusting for potential confounding factors. To conclude, patients with a negative RIDT were more likely to have severe disease and a delay in initiating antiviral treatment. Our findings should help improve treatment outcomes of hospitalized patients with influenza infection.