Single-centre, open-label, randomised, trial to compare rapid molecular point-of-care streptococcal testing to standard laboratory-based testing for the management of streptococcal pharyngitis in children: study protocol Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • IntroductionStreptococcal pharyngitis, which commonly occurs in children, should be treated with antibiotics. Clinical prediction rules to differentiate streptococcal pharyngitis from viral infection are not recommended in children. Rapid point-of-care (POC) antigen tests have limited sensitivity and so are not often used in Canadian paediatric emergency departments (EDs). Standard paediatric practice is to rely on laboratory-based testing, which often results in a delay before the results can be communicated to the patient; this may impede appropriate prescribing, decrease caregiver satisfaction and delay recovery. The objective of this study is to determine whether a novel rapid molecular POC assay for streptococcal pharyngitis leads to more appropriate antibiotic use in children seeking care in a paediatric ED than standard laboratory-based testing.Methods and analysisA randomised, superiority, open-label, trial with two parallel groups. Children presenting to a tertiary paediatric ED at least 3 years of age who have a throat swab ordered for diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis will be eligible; those who have taken antibiotics within 72 hours prior to presentation and those with additional active infections will be excluded. The primary study outcome will be appropriate antibiotic treatment at 3–5 days postenrolment. Secondary outcomes include time to symptom resolution, caregiver satisfaction, caregiver/child absenteeism, number of subsequent healthcare visits, clinician satisfaction and incremental cost-effectiveness of POC testing. A total of 352 participants will be needed.Ethics and disseminationAll study documentation has been approved by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics board and informed consent will be obtained from all participants. Data from this trial will be presented at major conferences and published in peer-reviewed publications to facilitate collaborations with networks of clinicians experienced in the dissemination of clinical guidelines.Trial registration numberNCT04247243.

publication date

  • August 2021