On the Horizon for Treatment of Shunt Infections in Children

Real-time polymerase chain reaction

  • Broad range real-time PCR: Although not widely available, real-time PCR is a laboratory diagnostic tool that is particularly useful because it can rapidly (less than 4 hours) identify gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial strains that otherwise would have been impossible to isolate due to initiated antibiotic therapy. Its usefulness has been emphasized in initiating and interrupting antibiotic therapy, particularly in patients who have experienced a previous shunt infection. Moreover, bacterial DNA load can be monitored by this technique to determine the impact of antibiotic therapy (13). However, this technique lacks the ability to define antibiotic sensitivity patterns and can also lead to false positive results (13, 24).