Supplementary Material for: Diagnosis of Neonatal Sepsis by Broad-Range 16S Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction

<i>Background:</i> The standard diagnostic test (blood culture) for suspected neonatal sepsis has limitations in sensitivity and specificity, and 16S polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been suggested as a new diagnostic tool for neonatal sepsis. <i>Objectives:</i> To develop and evaluate a new real-time PCR method for detection of bacterial DNA in blood samples collected from infants with suspected neonatal sepsis. <i>Methods:</i> Immediately after blood culture, a study sample of 0.5–1.0 ml whole blood was collected and used for a novel 16S real-time PCR assay. All positive samples were sequenced. Detailed case studies were performed in all cases with conflicting results, to verify if PCR could detect pathogens in culture negative sepsis. <i>Results:</i> 368 samples from 317 infants were included. When compared with blood culture, the assay yielded a sensitivity of 79%, a specificity of 90%, a positive predictive value of 59%, and a negative predictive value of 96%. Seven of the 31 samples with a positive PCR result and a negative blood culture had definite or suspected bacterial sepsis. In five samples, PCR (but not blood culture) could detect a pathogen that was present in a blood culture collected more than 24 h prior to the PCR sample. <i>Conclusions:</i> This study presents an evaluation of a new real-time PCR technique that can detect culture-positive sepsis, and suggests that PCR has the potential to detect bacteria in culture-negative samples even after the initiation of intravenous antibiotics.