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Diagnostic accuracy of fungal PCR and β-D-glucan for detection of candidaemia: a preliminary evaluation

Abstract

Aims Although treatment for candidaemia is time critical, culture-based tests prolong turnaround times and may promote underdiagnosis. Non-culture-based tests have the potential to overcome these difficulties but are in limited clinical use. The aim of this work was to undertake an initial evaluation of two non-culture-based tests for diagnosis of candidaemia.

Methods Patients with candidaemia were identified prospectively over a 4-month period. Sera drawn from case (candidaemic) and control (non-candidaemic) patients on the same day as the positive blood culture were tested with both the Renishaw RenDx Fungiplex test and a commercial β-D-glucan (BDG) assay (Fungitell, Associates of Cape Cod). Sensitivity and specificity were calculated independently and in combination, using paired blood culture as the reference standard.

Results There were 10 eligible case patients and 39 negative controls. PCR sensitivity and specificity were found to be 44.4% (95% CI 18.9% to 73.3%) and 87.2% (72.8% to 94.8%), respectively. BDG sensitivity and specificity were 80% (47.9% to 95.4%) and 89.7% (75.9% to 96.5%), respectively. When combining PCR and BDG, sensitivity was 90% (95% CI 57.4% to 100%) and specificity was 79.5% (64.2% to 89.5%). When two sequential specimens were tested, PCR sensitivity increased to 60% (95% CI 31.2% to 83.3%) and BDG sensitivity to 90% (54.7% to 100%).

Conclusion A combination of tests, or a single test at multiple time points, may be preferable to relying on one test at a single time point. This should be accounted for in design of future diagnostic accuracy studies of tests for invasive candidosis.

  • yeast
  • mycology
  • infections
  • fungi
  • diagnostics

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