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Lab changes: Rapid PCR testing on positive blood cultures for S. aureus and MRSA

Current culture-based lab testing for Gram positive blood culture bottles require 18 to 48 hours to determine Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. The new PCR testing available in Microbiology will detect MRSA or SA from Gram positive cocci blood cultures in about an hour. Without timely results, clinicians often use empiric therapy.  

The rapid information available from PCR testing will optimize or de-escalate antibiotic therapy and help determine contaminated draws and contact precautions.

When new positive cultures are identified with Gram positive cocci that are Staph-like, the PCR testing will be performed. The laboratory will call the positive blood culture when the PCR results are available within two hours of the culture being flagged positive. 

Notification will include PCR results for S. aureus and MRSA (positive or negative). Inpatient cultures will be tested on the first positive blood culture. Outpatient cultures will be tested when a second set of blood cultures turn positive.

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