SoutheastHEALTH first in the region to introduce rapid diagnostic technology aimed at optimizing antibiotic therapies

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Friday, July 23, 2021 ~ Updated 4:27 PM

This small machine does amazing work when it comes to quickly finding appropriate treatment therapies for serious blood infections.

SoutheastHEALTH has implemented a state-of-the-art rapid diagnostic technology focused on helping clinicians deliver optimal antibiotic therapies more quickly for patients suffering from serious bloodstream infections. Southeast is the pioneer in bringing this technology to the region.

Lauren Thomas, executive director of laboratory services at SoutheastHEALTH, said getting patients on the best therapy as quickly as possible is crucial. “Our new system, Accelerate Pheno®, is designed to help clinicians obtain faster diagnostic results which improves outcomes, reduces the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics for blood stream infections and shortens patients’ length of stay. Just as importantly, this technology can help reduce the risk of a patient developing sepsis. Our microbiology lab has been able to provide antibiotic susceptibility test (AST) results using the Accelerate Pheno® system up to 40 hours faster than conventional methods.”

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, amputations and death. People of all ages can get sepsis. Those at higher risk include people with a chronic illness, the very young, older adults and people with compromised immune systems due to certain medications or chemotherapy. In the U.S. alone, more than 1.5 million people develop sepsis and 250,000 die from it annually. Early diagnosis and targeted antibiotic therapy is vital in reducing mortality among these patients.

The Accelerate Pheno® system is made by Tucson, Arizona-based Accelerate Diagnostics. The in vitro diagnostic system identifies organisms direct from positive blood cultures and performs AST to determine which drugs, at which concentrations, may be most effective in treating the organism.

Traditional antibiotic susceptibility testing can take 48 hours or more. The Accelerate Pheno® system delivers results in about seven hours. “This amazing technology is not just a time saver,” Thomas said. “In many sepsis cases, it’s a lifesaver.”