Comparison of PCR and pp65 antigenemia assay with quantitative shell vial culture for detection of cytomegalovirus in blood leukocytes from solid- organ transplant recipients

G. A. Storch, R. S. Buller, T. C. Bailey, N. A. Ettinger, T. Langlois, M. Gaudreault- Keener, P. L. Welby

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Abstract

This study compared PCR and an assay for cytomegalovirus (CMV) pp65 antigenemia (CMV-vue; INCSTAR Corp.) with a quantitative shell vial culture (QSVC) technique for the detection of CMV in serial blood specimens from 46 solid-organ transplant recipients. In a comparison based on 535 specimens tested by PCR and QSVC, CMV was detected by PCR in 41 and by QSVC in 37 of 43 recipients at risk of CMV infection. The mean number of days after transplantation of initial detection of CMV was 29.9 for PCR and 34.0 for QSVC (P = 0.01). The antigenemia assay was performed on 395 specimens, including 304 of those also tested by PCR. In these specimens, CMV was detected by the antigenemia assay, QSVC, and PCR in 30, 32, and 35 (respectively) of 38 patients at risk, with no statistically significant difference in the time to detection. Each of the assays detected CMV in similar proportions of patients with and without clinically significant CMV infection. PCR stayed positive longer after transplantation than the other assays but frequently returned to negative when more than 6 months had elapsed after transplantation. The antigenemia assay and PCR stayed positive longer after institution of antiviral therapy than QSVC. PCR can provide highly sensitive detection of CMV viremia, but a PCR assay for CMV is not yet available in kit form. The pp65 antigenemia assay and shell vial culture are quantifiable and comparable in sensitivity. Either is recommended for rapid detection of CMV in blood specimens from solid-organ transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1003
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Volume32
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

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