Diagnostic Accuracy of the FilmArray™ Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel in Adult Patients with Suspected Bacterial Meningitis in a Tertiary Care Hospital in the Philippines

  • Ferron F. Ocampo Institute for Neurosciences, St. Luke's Medical Center
  • Lina C. Laxamana Institute for Neurosciences, St. Luke's Medical Center
Keywords: bacterial meningitis, FilmArray, diagnostics, CNS infections, ME panel


Objective. Bacterial meningitis is associated with significant morbidity and mortality if not diagnosed and treated early. Isolation of the causative agent from cerebrospinal fluid culture is the gold standard for the diagnosis of this condition; however, it takes several days for results to be available. The FilmArray™ Meningitis/Encephalitis (ME) panel is a nucleic acid-based test that allows simultaneous detection of 14 bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens in the cerebrospinal fluid with a rapid turnaround time. Our aim was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the ME panel in detecting bacterial pathogens in the cerebrospinal fluid of adult patients with suspected bacterial meningitis in a tertiary hospital in the Philippines.

Methods. We performed a retrospective review of hospital records of adult patients with suspected bacterial meningitis who were admitted at our institution and underwent diagnostic testing with the FilmArray™ ME panel from January 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019. Overall percent agreement, sensitivity, and specificity for individual bacterial pathogens included in the panel were determined.

Results. A total of 88 cerebrospinal fluid samples were included in the analysis of diagnostic accuracy. The ME panel demonstrated 93.2% overall agreement, 50% sensitivity for E. coli, and 99–100% specificity in comparison with CSF culture in detecting bacterial pathogens that are included in the ME panel.

Conclusion. The results show that the FilmArray™ ME panel has high diagnostic accuracy and can be utilized in the rapid diagnosis and targeted treatment of patients with suspected bacterial meningitis.