Doctors at The Helgeland Hospital Trust in Norway received test results two days earlier than before when they tested a new way to analyze blood samples for suspected sepsis. 

Hege Harboe-Sjåvik at Helgeland Hospital Trust and Kristoffer Hammer Endresen at Nordland Hospital Trust, in collaboration with Centre for new antibacterial strategies (CANS) at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, examined a new analysis method for detecting bacteria in blood.

The BCID2 method was used at several smaller hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic to analyze COVID-19 tests, but it has not yet been used for rapid analysis of sepsis in Norway.

The doctors’ goal was to check if this new and fast method works just as well at smaller hospitals, compared to sending samples for analysis at a large laboratory at a bigger hospital.

This would be a significant step in the right direction for faster and better patient treatment for suspected sepsis at local hospitals. It is important for smaller hospitals, which are often far from the large laboratories, to find out which bacteria are behind an infection so that they can more quickly administer the correct antibiotics.

Faster Analyses and Equally Good Results

The researchers reviewed the results from 160 blood samples with bacteria taken at Helgeland Hospital Trust in Mo i Rana, Sandnessjøen, and Mosjøen from July to December 2021. Rapid tests were performed at the various local hospitals, while the standard tests were carried out at a microbiological laboratory at the regional hospital in Bodø.

It turned out that the doctors in Helgeland both received the test results two days earlier than before, and they were almost as accurate as the tests done at the large laboratory in Bodø where the bacteria were cultured in the usual way.

The new method also revealed the possibility of providing better antibiotic treatment for the patient in one out of four cases.

“The conclusion is that this is a robust and accurate addition to traditional diagnostics for detecting bacteria in blood samples quickly. The method offers great potential for more targeted antibiotic use at local hospitals,” says Endresen. “This is an innovative solution with great potential for better treatment and equitable services at local hospitals. Two days faster test results can have a significant impact on seriously ill patients at local hospitals. This can provide a more equitable patient service, without the need for patients or healthcare personnel to be moved between hospitals”, says Hege Harboe-Sjåvik at the Helgeland Hospital Trust.”

Further reading: Advances in Pediatric Sepsis Biomarkers

“These are important findings for a growing patient group at local hospitals,” says Harboe-Sjåvik. “The results show great opportunities for more accurate antibiotic use, and that this is a tool with great potential to reduce unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics at local hospitals. This is important in the fight against antibiotic resistance”, explains Kristoffer Hammer Endresen at the Nordland Hospital Trust.

There were just under three percent of cases where the new test failed to detect the bacteria that were present in the blood. And there were no cases where the rapid test indicated the presence of bacteria in the blood when there actually were none, so-called false positives.

Featured image: Kristoffer Endresen, Senior Physician at Nordland Hospital Trust. Photo: Ulrikke Følvik, Nordland Hospital Trust


“FilmArray (BCID2) provides essential and timely results in bloodstream infections in small acute care hospitals without conventional microbiology services”

WHO sepsis key facts: