Short article: Stool cytomegalovirus polymerase chain reaction for the diagnosis of cytomegalovirus-related gastrointestinal disease

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Abstract

Objectives

The diagnosis of cytomegalovirus-related gastrointestinal disease (CMV-GI disease) still requires histopathology, but biopsy is considered invasive. Stool CMV PCR has been reported in adults as an alternative method to diagnose this condition; hence, the results between studies are discrepant. Moreover, no pediatric studies on stool CMV real-time PCR in CMV-GI disease have been carried out. Here, we evaluate the value of stool CMV real-time PCR in detecting CMV-GI disease among immunocompromised children.

Methods

We enrolled immunocompromised patients aged younger than 20 years who presented with gastrointestinal symptoms at a teaching hospital during January 2015–March 2016. Stool samples were analyzed for CMV real-time PCR. All patients underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy with mucosal biopsy.

Results

We performed stool CMV real-time PCR in 31 patients, but two could not undergo endoscopy. Therefore, 29 patients were analyzed. Two additional stool samples showed inhibitors that interfere with the PCR testing and were precluded from the final analysis. Among 27 patients, we found CMV-GI disease in seven (26%) patients. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of stool CMV real-time PCR were 71, 85, and 82%, respectively. We also found that all patients with CMV-GI disease had positive plasma CMV real-time PCR (>150 copies/ml). A significant association between stool and plasma CMV real-time PCR was also noted (P<0.001).

Conclusion

Stool CMV real-time PCR may be used as a noninvasive tool in the diagnosis of CMV-GI disease. Plasma CMV real-time PCR shows a significant correlation with stool CMV real-time PCR and also represents high diagnostic values.

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