Rational Use of COVID-19 Virological Tests in Intensive Care Unit

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Göğüs Kalp Damar Anestezi ve Yoğun Bakım Derneği Dergisi, vol.28, no.3, pp.201-205, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reminded once again that microbiological diagnostic methods are irreplaceable in both diagnosing and detecting asymptomatic persons. At present, real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is the gold standard method for diagnosing COVID-19, but the test’s accuracy varies in sample quality. Especially in the last stages of the disease, negative results of nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab samples or rapid antigen tests do not necessarily mean that these patients do not carry the virus. Considering that a significant number of COVID-19 patients need intensive care and mechanical ventilation in the late period, which sample should be taken from where and when should be evaluated. Lower respiratory tract samples have a more significant chance of finding viral RNA than upper respiratory tract samples. Technical recommendations and the virological diagnostic methodologies and used in the intensive care unit of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 are summarized in this article. We aimed to emphasize the need to get a sample from the right place at the right time for a reliable virological diagnosis.