Improved sensitivity of nucleic acid amplification for rapid diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis

Johansen I., Lundgren B., Tabak F., Petrini B., Hosoglu S., Saltoglu N., ...More

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol.42, no.7, pp.3036-3040, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Early diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is essential for a positive outcome; but present microbiological diagnostic techniques are insensitive, slow, or laborious. We evaluated the standard BDProbeTec ET strand displacement amplification method (the standard ProbeTec method) for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex organisms in parallel with the ProbeTec method with a modified pretreatment procedure with 101 prospectively collected cerebrospinal fluid specimens from 94 patients with suspected TBM. By the modified method, the sample-washing step was omitted. A definitive diagnosis was attained by culture. Thirteen specimens from 12 patients were culture positive for M. tuberculosis complex organisms; three specimens (23%) were microscopy positive for acid-fast bacilli. Among the culture-positive specimens, the standard ProbeTec method was positive for 8 (61.5%) and the modified assay was positive for 10 (76.9%). The overall specificity by both procedures was 98.8% compared to the results of culture. After discrepancy analysis, conducted by reviewing the patients' previous laboratory data, the specificity increased to 100%. If the cutoff value for respiratory specimens was adjusted from the recommended value of 3,400 to 1,000, the sensitivity of the modified procedure increased to 84.7%, with unchanged specificity. Results were obtained in 3 to 4 h. The new pretreatment procedure with the ProbeTec assay described here provides a rapid, simple, and sensitive tool for the diagnosis of TBM.