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VOLUME 21 , ISSUE 4 ( 2017 ) > List of Articles


Respiratory multiplex polymerase chain reaction: An important diagnostic tool in immunocompromised patients

Sharmila Sengupta, Navin Kumar, Amarjeet Kaur

Keywords : Cytomegalovirus, immunocompromised patients, multiplex polymerase chain reaction, Pneumocystis jirovecii

Citation Information : Sengupta S, Kumar N, Kaur A. Respiratory multiplex polymerase chain reaction: An important diagnostic tool in immunocompromised patients. Indian J Crit Care Med 2017; 21 (4):192-198.

DOI: 10.4103/ijccm.IJCCM_2_17

License: CC BY-ND 3.0

Published Online: 01-04-2018

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2017; The Author(s).


Background: Viruses and atypical pathogens can cause significant respiratory illness in immunocompromised patients. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (MPCR) has improved the diagnostic yield of pathogens, and it is easier to identify the co-infections also. The present study was done to evaluate the performance of MPCR on bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples in immunocompromised patients. Methods: Atotal of 177 BAL specimens collected over a 19 months period from immunocompromised patients with respiratory illness were analyzed with the MPCR and aerobic culture. Patients were divided into four according to the pathogens. Category V (only viral), Category NV (nonviral, i.e., bacteria and atypical), Category M (mixed, i.e., both viral and nonviral pathogen), and Category UK (unknown etiology). Results: MPCR identified the causative pathogen in 59.3% of patients while culture could identify only in 37.8% of patients. Most frequent etiological agent was Klebsiella pneumoniae (32%), followed by cytomegalovirus (21%), and Pneumocystis jirovecii (10%). Numbers of patients in each category were Category V (9.6%), Category NV (43.5%), Category M (19.8%), and Category UK (27.1%). Mortality was significantly higher in patients of Category M having mixed infections. Conclusion: MPCR is highly sensitive and rapid tool which can be considered in the routine diagnostic algorithm of respiratory illness in immunocompromised patients.

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