BACKGROUND: Differentiating acute chest syndrome (ACS) from community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is challenging in adults presenting with major sickle cell disease (SCD) (semiological similarity, rare microbiological documentation). We aimed to assess the usefulness of nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for respiratory pathogens, in combination with standard bacteriological investigations, in febrile ACS adult patients presenting with major SCD.
METHODS: We performed a prospective, monocentric, observational study of 61 SCD adults presenting with febrile ACS from February 2015 to April 2016. Systematic blood, urine, and respiratory specimens were collected, before antibiotic initiation, for culture, urinary antigen tests, serology, and NAAT for respiratory pathogens.
RESULTS: A pathogen was detected in 12 febrile ACS (19.7%): four viruses (6.6%) (Rhinovirus; Influenza A/B), seven bacteria (11.4%) (S. aureus, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae, L. pneumophila, M. pneumoniae), one mixed infection (1.6%) (S. aureus and Influenza B). NAAT only detected L. pneumophila in one case (serogroup 2). Apart from a significantly shorter antibiotic therapy duration (6.1 vs. 7.8 days, P=0.045), no difference was observed between undocumented and microbiologically-documented febrile ACS.
CONCLUSION: Using NAAT for the detection of respiratory pathogens in adults presenting with SCD slightly improved the microbiological diagnostic of febrile ACS, although respiratory infections are not the main etiological factor.