Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Critical Care and BioMed Central.

Open Badges Commentary

PCR for the diagnosis of sepsis: hope or hype?

Jacques Schrenzel

Author Affiliations

Genomic Research and Bacteriology Laboratories, Service of Infectious Diseases, Geneva University Hospitals, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, CH-1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland

Critical Care 2010, 15:111  doi:10.1186/cc9378

See related research by Lehmann et al.,

Published: 26 January 2011


Molecular biology has not yet fully reached its ambitious goals in clinical bacteriology. Notwithstanding the tremendous technical challenges, the detection of nucleic acids directly from the blood of septic patients has not been shown cost-effective or even clinically relevant. Yet the potential for rapid molecular detection of circulating DNA (DNAemia) coupled to an educated antimicrobial drug adaptation has been repetitively advocated as a predicted breakthrough. Why do we still remain in such uncertainty?