“Answers in hours”: A prospective clinical study using nanopore sequencing for bile duct cultures

Jennifer A. Yonkus, Emma Whittle, Roberto Alva-Ruiz, Amro M. Abdelrahman, Susan E. Horsman, Gina A. Suh, Scott A. Cunningham, Heidi Nelson, Travis E. Grotz, Rory L. Smoot, Sean P. Cleary, David M. Nagorney, Michael L. Kendrick, Robin Patel, Mark J. Truty, Nicholas Chia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Surgical site infection is a major source of morbidity in patients undergoing pancreatic head resection and is often from organisms in intraoperative bile duct cultures. As such, many institutions use prolonged prophylactic antibiotics and tailor based on bile duct cultures. However, standard cultures take days, leaving many patients unnecessarily on prolonged antibiotics. Nanopore sequencing can provide data in hours and, thus, has the potential to improve antibiotic stewardship. The present study investigates the feasibility of nanopore sequencing in intraoperative bile samples. Methods: Patients undergoing pancreatic head resection were included. Intra-operative bile microbial profiles were determined with standard cultures and nanopore sequencing. Antibiotic recommendations were generated, and time-to-results determined for both methods. Organism yields, resistance patterns, antibiotic recommendations, and costs were compared. Results: Out of 42 patients, 22 (52%) had samples resulting in positive standard cultures. All positive standard cultures had microbes detected using nanopore sequencing. All 20 patients with negative standard cultures had negative nanopore sequencing. Nanopore sequencing detected more bacterial species compared to standard cultures (10.5 vs 4.4, p < 0.05) and more resistance genotypes (10.3 vs 2.7, p < 0.05). Antimicrobial recommendations based on nanopore sequencing provided coverage for standard cultures in 27 out of 44 (61%) samples, with broader coverage recommended by nanopore sequencing in 13 out of 27 (48%) of these samples. Nanopore sequencing results were faster (8 vs 98 hours) than standard cultures but had higher associated costs ($165 vs $38.49). Conclusion: Rapid microbial profiling with nanopore sequencing is feasible with broader organism and resistance profiling compared to standard cultures. Nanopore sequencing has perfect negative predictive value and can potentially improve antibiotic stewardship; thus, a randomized control trial is under development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-702
Number of pages10
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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