Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 134  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-46

Evaluating PCR, culture & histopathology in the diagnosis of female genital tuberculosis

1 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Women & Children Hospital, Chennai, India
2 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Tuberculosis Research Centre (ICMR), Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
Sujatha Narayanan
Scientist 'F', Department of Immunology, Tuberculosis Research Centre, Mayor V.R. Ramanathan Road, Chetpet, Chennai 600 031
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 21808133

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Background & objectives : Genital tuberculosis (GTB) is one of the major causes for severe tubal disease leading to infertility. Unlike pulmonary tuberculosis, the clinical diagnosis of GTB is difficult because in majority of cases the disease is either asymptomatic or has varied clinical presentation. Routine laboratory values are of little value in the diagnosis. An absolute diagnosis cannot be made from characteristic features in hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or laparoscopy. Due to the paucibacillary nature of GTB, diagnosis by mycobacterial culture and histopathological examination (HPE) have limitations and low detection rate. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of PCR technique, culture and histopathological examination in the diagnosis of GTB in female infertility. Methods: This study included 72 infertile women who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. After a detailed history and clinical examination all patients were subjected to investigations including pelvic sonogram, HSG and laparoscopy. Endometrial samples from were allocated for AFB smear, culture and HPE examination. Only 49 samples were available for PCR using IS 6110 and TRC 4 primers. In seven patients peritoneal fluid was also taken for culture and PCR. Based on the clinical profile and laparoscopic findings, a diagnostic criteria was derived to suspect GTB. Specific diagnostic tests were evaluated against this diagnostic criterion. Results: Laparoscopy was suggestive of tuberculosis in 59.7 per cent of cases, AFB smear was positive in 8.3 per cent, culture was positive in 5.6 per cent, HPE positive in 6.9 per cent and PCR was positive in 36.7 per cent of cases. Based on the diagnostic criteria, GTB was suspected in 28 of the 49 cases. On evaluating against the diagnostic criteria, the sensitivity of PCR, HPE and culture were 57.1, 10.7, 7.14 per cent respectively. The concordance of results between the clinical criteria and specific diagnostic tests were analysed by Kappa measure of agreement. The culture and HPE showed mild agreement with the clinical criteria, whereas PCR showed a moderate agreement. PCR was positive in Two of the 21 cases in whom GTB was not suspected. False positive PCR in these two cases were ruled out by multiple areas of sampling and re-sampling in one case. The PCR results were negative in 12 of the 28 cases. PCR using TRC 4 primers had a higher sensitivity (46.4%) than IS 6110 primers (25%) in detecting clinically suspected GTB. Interpretation & conclusions : Our results showed that conventional methods of diagnosis namely, HPE, AFB smear and culture have low sensitivity. PCR was found to be useful in diagnosing early disease as well as confirming diagnosis in clinically suspected cases. False negative PCR was an important limitation in this study.

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