The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of the BACTEC FX blood culture (BC) system as compared to the agar culture (AC) of cerebrospinal fluid samples (CSF), evaluating the recovery rate and the time to detection of microorganisms in a 3.5-year period. From December 2011 to May 2015, 1326 CSF samples (694 patients) were submitted to both AC and BC. Among the 150 positive samples (96 patients), 165 microorganisms were detected: 81 by both the protocols, 77 by BC alone, and 7 by AC alone, demonstrating a higher detection rate of BC (95.8%) than AC (53.3%). Although BC presents some disadvantages, it is able to improve the yield of clinically significant microorganisms, and it could potentially reduce the reporting time as compared to AC. The results obtained highlighted the necessity of a combined approach for the successful detection of central nervous system microbial infections.
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