To assess the impact of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on nosocomial transmission and costs.
Monthly MRSA detection rates were measured from April 1, 2000, through December 31, 2005. Time series analysis was used to identify changes in MRSA detection rates, and decision analysis was used to compare the costs of detection by PCR and by culture.Setting. A 1,200-bed, tertiary care hospital in Canada.
Admitted patients at high risk for MRSA colonization. MRSA detection using culture-based screening was compared with a commercial PCR assay.
The mean monthly incidence of nosocomial MRSA colonization or infection was 0.37 cases per 1,000 patient-days. The time-series model indicated an insignificant decrease of 0.14 cases per 1,000 patient-days per month (95% confidence interval, -0.18 to 0.46) after the introduction of PCR detection (P=.39). The mean interval from a reported positive result until contact precautions were initiated decreased from 3.8 to 1.6 days (P