Effect of C reactive protein point-of-care testing on antibiotic prescribing for lower respiratory tract infections in nursing home residents: cluster randomised controlled trial

T.M. Boere, L.W. van Buul*, R.M. Hopstaken, M.W. van Tulder, J.W.M.R. Twisk, T.J.M. Verheij, C.M.P.M. Hertogh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE To evaluate whether C reactive protein point-of -care testing (CRP POCT) safely reduces antibiotic prescribing for lower respiratory tract infections in nursing home residents. DESIGN Pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial. SETTING The UPCARE study included 11 nursing home organisations in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS 84 physicians from 11 nursing home organisations included 241 participants with suspected lower respiratory tract infections from September 2018 to the end of March 2020. INTERVENTIONS Nursing homes allocated to the intervention group had access to CRP POCT. The control group provided usual care without CRP POCT for patients with suspected lower respiratory tract infections. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The primary outcome measure was antibiotic prescribing at initial consultation. Secondary outcome measures were full recovery at three weeks, changes in antibiotic management and additional diagnostics during follow-up at one week and three weeks, and hospital admission and all cause mortality at any point (initial consultation, one week, or three weeks). RESULTS Antibiotics were prescribed at initial consultation for 84 (53.5%) patients in the intervention group and 65 (82.3%) in the control group. Patients in the intervention group had 4.93 higher odds (95% confidence interval 1.91 to 12.73) of not being prescribed antibiotics at initial consultation compared with the control group, irrespective of treating physician and baseline characteristics. The between group difference in antibiotic prescribing at any point from initial consultation to follow-up was 23.6%. Differences in secondary outcomes between the intervention and control groups were 4.4% in full recovery rates at three weeks (86.4% v 90.8%), 2.2% in all cause mortality rates (3.5% v 1.3%), and 0.7% in hospital admission rates (7.2% v 6.5%). The odds of full recovery at three weeks, and the odds of mortality and hospital admission at any point did not significantly differ between groups. CONCLUSIONS CRP POCT for suspected lower respiratory tract infection safely reduced antibiotic prescribing compared with usual care in nursing home residents. The findings suggest that implementing CRP POCT in nursing homes might contribute to reduced antibiotic use in this setting and help to combat antibiotic resistance. TRIAL REGISTRATION Netherlands Trial Register NL5054
Original languageEnglish
Article numbern2198
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2021



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