Maintaining an MRSA-free zone with Cepheid’s GeneXpert System


Orthopaedic ward at Northern Ireland’s Craigavon Area Hospital remains MRSA free after five years after installation of PCR technology

Cepheid’s Xpert MRSA molecular diagnostic test is helping to keep the orthopaedic ward at Northern Ireland’s Craigavon Area Hospital free from MRSA.

Elaine Porter, acting lead biomedical scientist in the microbiology department, explains: “Craigavon is a busy district general hospital. In 2010, the hospital opened a purpose-built orthopaedic unit and our department was involved in planning the patient pathway, looking at how to ensure the new unit remained MRSA free. We realised the potential of PCR technology and so looked for a standalone molecular diagnostic system offering random-access MRSA testing, choosing Cepheid’s GeneXpert System and Xpert MRSA test.

Elaine Porter

Elaine Porter

“The major benefit of the Xpert MRSA test is speed of diagnosis. We can now obtain results in just 90 minutes, rather than two days, by culture, which is invaluable as it ensures patients follow the correct pathway.

“If MRSA is confirmed, patients are nursed in a side room, given prophylaxis prior to surgery, and placed at the end of the surgical list to allow deep cleaning of the theatre afterwards. This reduces the likelihood of orthopaedic sepsis and possible repeat surgery, reducing costs and protecting all our patients, not just those that are colonised.

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“Equally important, patients that are not colonised can be nursed in four-bedded bays, benefitting from each other’s company, and valuable side rooms are freed up. The system has proved very effective and, five years on, the orthopaedic unit remains MRSA free.”