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Point-of-care tests (POCT) for influenza A and B viruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were implemented in emergency departments of all hospitals in the Capital Region of Denmark in 2018.


To establish whether POC testing for influenza viruses or RSV is based on a valid respiratory symptom indication, whether changes in patient management based on a positive result are safe and whether syndromic POC testing may benefit patients with influenza or RSV.


Samples from 180 children (< 18 years) and 375 adults tested using POCT between February and July 2018 were retested for 26 respiratory pathogens. Diagnosis, indication for POC testing, hospitalisation time, antimicrobial therapy and readmission or death within one month of testing were obtained from patient records.


A valid indication for POC testing was established in 168 (93.3%) of children and 334 (89.1%) of adults. A positive POCT result significantly reduced antibiotic prescription and median hospitalisation time by 44.3 hours for adults and 14.2 hours for children, and significantly increased antiviral treatment in adults. Risk of readmission or death was not significantly altered by a positive result. Testing for 26 respiratory pathogens established that risk of coinfection is lower with increasing age and that POCT for adults should be restricted to the influenza and RSV season.


Positive POCT resulted in changed patient management for both children and adults, and was deemed safe. POCT for additional pathogens may be beneficial in children below 5 years of age and outside the influenza and RSV season.


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