AIM: To evaluate a newly developed aspergillus mitochondrial gene PCR-ELISA assay for the early diagnosis of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) in neutropenic patients. METHODS: The aspergillus mitochondrial gene was chosen for the amplification target for use with a solution hybridisation assay with colorimetric end stage detection in microtitre plate format (PCR-ELISA). The study group comprised neutropenic patients undergoing febrile episodes not responding to standard antibacterial antibiotics. Patients underwent computed tomography and bronchoscopy. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids were examined by culture and PCR. RESULTS: The aspergillus mitochondrial gene PCR-ELISA was both sensitive (100%) and specific (100%) for IPA in neutropenic patients. All 12 patients with definite or probable IPA had PCR positive BAL fluids. None of the patients with undiagnosed or confirmed infections of other aetiologies were mitochondrial PCR positive. Speciation based upon amplicon size difference was possible. CONCLUSIONS: Aspergillus mitochondrial DNA PCR-ELISA on BAL fluid is useful in the early diagnosis of IPA in neutropenic patients alone or, potentially, as an indication for thoracic computed tomography.
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