Introduction Although the administration of appropriate antimicrobials within the very first hour remains the mainstay of sepsis management, the correct selection of antimicrobials is hampered by the delay of conventional microbiology providing results after at least 48 hours. Methods of rapid detection of pathogens are an approach to overcome these difficulties. Areas covered This review analyzes the advantages and the disadvantages of these approaches with major emphasis on technologies based on multiplex PCR for the rapid detection of pathogens using whole blood. The most broadly studied platform is SeptFast. Sensitivity ranges between 42% and 73% and specificity between 50% and 97%. The main disadvantages are high cost, the risk of contamination and the lack of information for the presence of resistance genes. A brief review of the use of PCR techniques for the diagnosis of endocarditis and of the recognition of the bacterial proteome for the rapid identification of grown colonies (MALDI-TOF) is also provided. Expert commentary More randomized clinical trials are necessary to validate the use of molecular techniques for decision-making for patients’ outcomes, taking into consideration the cost-benefit for the patient.
Contemporary approaches to the rapid molecular diagnosis of sepsis.