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Free Content Polymerase chain reaction of pleural biopsy specimens for rapid diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis

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Setting: Government-administered regional teaching hospital.

Objective: To improve timeliness and sensitivity of laboratory diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis.

Design: We applied polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect DNA (IS6110) specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in pleural biopsy specimens.

Results: Of 28 patients with pleural disease, 11 were diagnosed by microbiology (smear/culture of sputum or pleural fluid) with tuberculous pleuritis, eight were diagnosed with tuberculous pleuritis by histology (of pleural biopsies) and/or clinical presentation, and nine were diagnosed with carcinomatous pleuritis. Seventeen of the patients' pleural biopsies were PCR positive. Based on microbiological results, the sensitivity of the PCR assay was 100% (11/11). On the other hand, based on the results of the histological and clinical data, sensitivity and specificity of the PCR results were 89% (17/19) and 100% (9/9), respectively.

Conclusion: PCR of pleural biopsy specimens can be a useful method when employed in combination with microbiological and histological examinations of pleural biopsy for rapid diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis.

Keywords: PCR; pleural biopsy; tuberculous pleuritis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: First Department of Internal Medicine, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan 2: Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Nagoya University Hospital, Nagoya, Japan 3: Chubu National Hospital, Obu, Japan

Publication date: 1998-04-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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