In order to keep infection rates to a minimum and to prevent pre-op cancellations, the Yorkshire Clinic has launched an enhanced infection control programme to rapidly screen pre-op patients for MRSA. In a busy clinic specialising in open surgery with five theatres which are often fully-booked, it is imperative to make sure that cancellations are kept to an absolute minimum. Rapid testing has contributed to saving cancellations of theatre time due to the lack of a valid MRSA result.
The private clinic, which admits both paying, insured and NHS patients, has supplemented the traditional culture test with the Xpert™ MRSA PCR test in order to meet increasing demands on last-minute admissions. The test, developed by molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, is one of the most accurate forms of testing available and allows clinicians to identify if a patient is carrying MRSA in less than an hour. The only other testing method that offers the same level of accuracy as the GeneXpert® test is the traditional culture-based test, which usually takes 48 hours, but can take up to four days to produce a result. The clinical teams need to be able to decide quickly if a procedure can begin and the Xpert™ MRSA PCR test can provide that result in a timely manner.
Mark Harrison, Acting Laboratory Managerat the Yorkshire Clinic said, “The hospital is extremely proud of its achievements in infection control. We have always tried to stay one step ahead of the game and being a private clinic our patients expect the latest technology at their convenience. We have so far tested approximately 100 patients since implementation, all of which have potentially saved cancellations of theatre time. The rapid test helps clinic efficiency by quickly identifying negative patients for surgery and isolating and identifying positive patients for decolonisation. In addition, it has also afforded Consultants added flexibility in booking in patients next-day or even same-day."
Obtaining an accurate and rapid result for MRSA before an operation is crucial for the avoidance of infection. This reduces the risk of transmission in the operating theatre where MRSA bacteria can enter the body either from the surgeon’s hands, a previous patient, or from the patient’s own skin through an open wound.
Currently samples are being delivered by vacuum tube straight to the lab within minutes of collection, and then registered on the hospital’s patient information system. The swab is then prepared for inoculation in the cartridge. In just over an hour, results are available to the wards in order for a decision on surgery to be made.