Wound infection in burn patients is common and impacts outcomes. There is no objective method to diagnose infection at point of care (PoC). Early diagnosis prevents progression to sepsis. Diagnostic subjectivity supports over-diagnosis, unnecessary hospitalisation, and antibiotic over-use.
This pilot study aimed to investigate the accuracy of a novel PoC wound infection diagnostic in burn patients.
We have produced, and in vitro tested, a PoC diagnostic for early wound infection diagnosis. The prototype SPaCE diagnostic uses a patented lipid vesicle suspension into which a clinical swab is placed. The diagnostic delivers a colour-response to Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida species and Enterococcus faecalis at toxin release. A pilot clinical diagnostic accuracy study was undertaken. The reference standard was a retrospective decision made by an expert clinical panel using routinely available data.
Data was available from 33 of 34 patients. Of these, 52% were considered to have a wound infection, 42% not and two (6%) were equivocal. The diagnostic results showed 24% were infected, 42% were not and 33% produced intermediate results. Agreement between clinical judgement and diagnostic result, assessed using a weighted Kappa, was 0.591 suggesting moderate agreement. If the intermediate results were excluded, 22 sets of data with definitive results achieved a Kappa statistic of 0.81 suggesting “almost perfect” agreement. Sensitivity and specificity were 57% (8/14) and 71% (12/17), respectively.
This pilot study provides evidence that the SPaCE diagnostic could provide valuable and timely data to support clinical decision-making at PoC for wound infection.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.