Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections are common in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These patients frequently seek care with fever accompanied by generalized systemic symptoms and undergo bone marrow biopsy. It is our practice to stain all bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens from patients infected with HIV for acid-fast bacilli (AFB). We evaluated this practice by comparing the sensitivity and turnaround time for detection of MAC by biopsy specimen staining, bone marrow aspirate culture, and blood culture. Bone marrow trephine biopsy specimens with corresponding bone marrow aspirate and blood cultures from 86 HIV- positive patients were reviewed. Of the 86 patients, 30 had positive results for disseminated MAC infection, and all 30 of those patients had positive blood cultures. Bone marrow aspirate cultures identified 17 MAC-positive cases, and AFB staining of the biopsy specimen identified 9. The mean times to detection of MAC positivity were 1.1 days for AFB staining of the biopsy specimen, 19 days for bone marrow aspirate culture, and 16 days for blood culture. While AFB staining of biopsy specimens was the least sensitive of the detection methods, it was useful for the rapid diagnosis of disseminated MAC infection, allowing for prompt initiation by antimycobacterial therapy in one third of patients.
- Mycobacterium avium complex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine