The role of polymerase chain reaction in the management of osteoarticular tuberculosis

Vivek Pandey; Kiran Chawla; Kiran Acharya; Sripathi Rao; Sugandhi Rao
June 2009
International Orthopaedics;Jun2009, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p801
Academic Journal
Abstract  A dependable method for the rapid diagnosis of osteoarticular tuberculosis has become increasingly important, as routine methods are neither very sensitive nor very specific. The objective of this study is to verify the reliability of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the diagnosis and management of osteoarticular tuberculosis. This investigation was a prospective study conducted at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India. Tissue samples of 74 patients suspected of osteoarticular tuberculosis were sent for PCR and histopathologic examination. Taking histopathology as the gold standard, PCR has a sensitivity of 73.07% and a specificity of 93.75% (with 95% confidence interval [CI] 62.97; 83.17).The positive agreement between histology and PCR was 0.693, indicating good agreement. PCR showed a sensitivity of 90% with spinal samples. It has a low false positivity of 13.63%. We conclude that conventional methods are neither sensitive nor specific enough and are also time consuming. PCR is an effective method for diagnosing tuberculosis and antitubercular treatment can be started if PCR is positive, since false-positive rates are very low.


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