There have been few studies evaluating the efficacy of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in front-line clinical practice. We assessed the diagnostic yield of PCR prospectively in a blinded study of patients admitted to rule out tuberculosis and compared PCR results to a culture and clinical diagnosis of tuberculosis. Specimens were sent for routine smear, culture, and PCR analysis. Sputum sediments were submitted for PCR amplification of IS6110 sequences by an in-house assay and also the Roche Amplicor PCR assay targeting 16s ribosomal RNA genes. Eighty-five patients were enrolled: 27 patients had cultures positive for tuberculosis; 12 were smear-positive. PCR by both assays on the first specimen picked up all patients smear-positive on any specimen. A positive PCR on at least one of two specimens collected in the first 24 h was 85 and 74% sensitive and 88 and 93% specific for tuberculosis by the in-house and Roche techniques, respectively. Sensitivity in smear-negative patients was 73 and 53%, respectively. The in-house PCR detected 100% and Roche detected 95% of patients with more than paucibacillary (greater than 20 colonies) tuberculosis. We conclude that PCR may be a useful tool to evaluate patients for tuberculosis within the first hospital day.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine|
|State||Published - 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine