Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in primary care: Narrative review of C reactive protein (CRP) point-of-care testing (POCT) and antibacterial use in patients who present with symptoms of RTI
Cooke J., Llor C., Hopstaken R., Dryden M., Butler C.
© Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to be a global problem and continues to be addressed through national strategies to improve diagnostics, develop new antimicrobials and promote antimicrobial stewardship. Patients who attend general (ambulatory) practice with symptoms of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are invariably assessed by some sort of clinical decision rule (CDR). However, CDRs rely on a cluster of non-specific clinical observations. A narrative review of the literature was undertaken to ascertain the value of C reactive protein (CRP) point-of-care testing (POCT) to guide antibacterial prescribing in adult patients presenting to general practitioner (GP) practices with symptoms of RTI. Studies that were included were Cochrane reviews, systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials, cluster randomised trials, controlled before and after studies, cohort studies and economic evaluations. An overwhelming number of studies demonstrated that the use of CRP tests in patients presenting with RTI symptoms reduces index antibacterial prescribing. GPs and patients report a good acceptability for a CRP POCT and economic evaluations show cost-effectiveness of CRP POCT over existing RTI management in primary care. POCTs increase diagnostic precision for GPs in the better management of patients with RTI. With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, patients will expect greater precision in diagnosing and managing their illnesses. Adopting systems that markedly reduce antibiotic consumption is a no-brainer for governments that are struggling to address the rise in AMR.