Study objectives: This study was undertaken to determine the usefulness of the AMPLICOR Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test (Roche Diagnostic Systems, Inc; Branchburg, NJ) in diagnosing TB in tissue and body fluid specimens other than respiratory secretions.
Design and setting: Prospective analysis of clinical and laboratory data in patients with suspected TB at the four divisional hospitals of Catholic Medical Center, located in New York.
Patients and measurements: A total of 1,090 tissue and body fluid specimens from 1,032 patients with suspected TB were subjected to acid-fast bacillus (AFB) smear, culture, and the AMPLICOR MTB PCR test.
Results: Of the 1,090 specimens, 32 grew M tuberculosis complex and 8 specimens grew isolates belonging to the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). The AMPLICOR MTB PCR test was positive for 24 of the 32 specimens that grew M tuberculosis. It was also positive for four additional specimens that were culture-negative for M tuberculosis or MAC. Two of these specimens were from patients with a previously recorded positive sputum culture for M tuberculosis. The AMPLICOR test was negative for all eight specimens that yielded MAC only. When AMPLICOR MTB PCR test results were compared with the confirmed clinical diagnosis of TB, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for the AMPLICOR MTB PCR test were 76.4%, 99.8%, 92.8%, and 99.2%, respectively. PCR results were available within 6.5 hours, compared with an average of 3 weeks for culture of M tuberculosis.
Conclusions: These data establish the utility of the AMPLICOR MTB PCR test for the rapid detection of M tuberculosis in tissue and body fluid specimens other than respiratory secretions.