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The Pediatric Forum
July 6, 2009

Universal Primer Polymerase Chain Reaction Looks Promising for Newborns With Low Pretest Probability of Sepsis

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(7):675-676. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.121

Dutta et al1 reported impressive results using universal primer 16S rRNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to diagnose sepsis among 242 patients in a level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, because 2 of 52 bacteremic patients (4%) had falsely negative results, DeCamp et al,2 in the accompanying commentary, were unenthusiastic, concluding that “universal PCR is still not accurate enough to justify withholding antibiotic therapy in neonates being evaluated for sepsis.”

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