Prospective screening in liver transplant recipients by panfungal PCR-ELISA for early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections


Badiee P, Kordbacheh P, Alborzi A, Malekhoseini S, Zeini F, Mirhendi H, Mahmoodi M
Liver Transpl. 2007 Jul;13(7):1011-6


Invasive fungal infections after liver transplantation (LT) have resulted in high mortality and potentially fatal complications. This study was undertaken to determine the accuracy of the panfungal polymerase chain reaction enzyme link immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA) method in early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections in liver transplant recipients (LTRs). A total of 48 liver recipients (cadaver donors) were followed for fungal infections for a period of at least 6 months. All clinical samples were cultured and a direct microscopic examination was performed. Blood samples were cultured by bedside inoculation onto BACTEC medium. Whole blood specimens were collected prospectively once per week and were evaluated for any invasive fungal infections by panfungal PCR and PCR-ELISA. Among 48 transplant recipients between September 2004 and January 2006 (22 females, 28 males, mean age = 34.4 yr), 40 recipients (83.3%) had Candida colonization in different sites of their body before LT. In proven and probable recipients for panfungal PCR-ELISA, the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 83.3%, 91.7%, 76.9%, and 94.3%, respectively. By PCR assay, fungal infections were diagnosed in 10 recipients (20.8%). The mean interval time from transplantation to development of fungal infection was 61.4 days (range, 20-150 days) and time of infection in blood before any clinical signs was 7-70 days with mean of 21.4 days. The etiologic agents were Candida albicans (9 cases) and Aspergillus fumigatus (1 case). Use of PCR-ELISA in LTRs may not only improve the ability of early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections (IFIs) when positive results are obtained, but also would provide more confidence to exclude a diagnosis of IFIs when negative results are obtained.