We collected all positive 16S PCR results from the microbiological laboratory information system and recovered clinical and laboratory data from the electronic medical records of the relevant patients. We removed all duplicated results and kept a single result per patient. We collected data on the results of blood cultures, the samples’ Gram stains and cultures, the bacteria identified, the presence of previous antibiotic treatments, the clinical impact of the 16S PCR results and the final diagnoses.

We defined the notion of clinical impact of the 16S PCR as a rationalizing of the antibiotic therapy (‘R’, lower dose, shorter or more targeted antibiotic therapy), an extended antibiotic therapy (‘E’, higher dose, longer or extended spectrum antibiotic therapy) or an intervention (‘I’, invasive procedures). Modifications of the patient’s management had to be directly associated with the 16S PCR results based on medical records. We considered previous antibiotic treatments as significant when given for more than 24 h before the sample collection and when being effective against the identified pathogen.

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