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Importance of accurate diagnostics

This article highlights why accuracy is an important feature in fungal diagnostic tests.
photo of archery target with arrows in the centre
© BSAC

The ideal fungal diagnostic is rapid, specific, sensitive, and accurate. In this step we will focus on the importance of accuracy in fungal diagnostics.

Fungal infections are fairly common, with an estimated 1 billion individuals suffering from them. As this number increases, so do the number of individuals suffering from severe disease, something which is a particular risk to those who are immunocompromised (e.g. chemotherapy and transplant patients).

As fungal infections can be serious it is important that when diagnostic tests are carried out they are accurate – if diagnosis of an infection is missed this could quickly become dangerous for the patient who does not receive the treatment they need. It is important to diagnose as early as possible – mortality due to candidemia may increase by 20% after only a 12-hour delay in the initiation of treatment following collection of the initial positive blood culture. This means that an accurate test is important – if results are accurate the first time then patients do not have to wait for further testing, which could cause greater harm. Receiving an accurate diagnosis the first time a test is used will also be valuable in cutting costs.

Accurate fungal diagnostics also allow the correct treatment to be selected as early as possible. This is particularly important when it comes to the use of antifungals, as high quality stewardship will ensure the antifungal treatments currently available remain effective.

© BSAC
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Fungal Diagnostics in Critically Ill Patients

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