Comparison of Protein B Polymerase Chain Reaction… Leave a comment

Purpose Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a diagnostic challenge. With the conventional staining and culture techniques being too insensitive and time-consuming, and the commercial detection systems being costly, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) seems lucrative for routine laboratories. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic potential of protein b antigen polymerase chain reaction (Pab PCR) for TBM, in comparison to IS6110. Another purpose was to compute a cut-off at which adenosine deaminase (ADA) could diagnose TBM. Material and methods This is a prospective case-control study to measure the diagnostic accuracy of PCR, BACTEC culture, Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) culture, ADA, and acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear tests in TBM. CSF from 50 TBM patients (10 confirmed, 40 clinically suspected) and 40 controls was subjected to Pab PCR and IS6110 PCR, and performance was compared against culture and composite reference standards. Results The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of Pab PCR in diagnosing TBM were 82%, 100%, 100%, and 81.63%, respectively, and that of IS6110 PCR were 74%, 100%, 100%, and 75.47%, respectively. Both PCRs outperformed culture (p<0.001). Though performance of both PCRs was comparable (p=0.335) with excellent agreement (k=0.86), Pab PCR detected four additional cases, one culture-positive and three culture-negative clinically suspected. ADA of 6.5 IU/L was able to differentiate between TBM and non-TBM with 86% sensitivity and 63% specificity. Conclusions Molecular tools such as PCR have the potential to increase the clinician's ability to diagnose tuberculous meningitis. Pab PCR is a rapid and reliable method for diagnosing TBM in routine microbiology laboratories.


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