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Clin Investig. 1992 Oct;70(10):932-7.

Q fever endocarditis: diagnostic approaches and monitoring of therapeutic effects.

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Division de Microbiologie clinique, Institut Central des Hôpitaux Valaisans, Sion.


The scope of current diagnostic methods for Q fever endocarditis includes serology, direct demonstration of Coxiella burnetii in the resected heart valve tissue, and animal inoculation studies. Illustrated by a clinical case report, the different methods are presented and discussed. Serology represents the primary method, using the techniques of complement fixation, indirect immunofluorescence, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The latter two techniques allow the detection of immunoglobulins G, M, and A to the phase I and II antigens of C. burnetii. After cardiac surgery, we visualized C. burnetii on smears and specifically stained it on histologic sections of the resected heart valve by light and electron microscopic immunohistochemistry. In addition, seroconversion in animals after inoculation with valve specimens confirmed the presence of C. burnetii in the heart valve. The antibody titers determined by ELISA correlated well with the patient's clinical course during the treatment period. Therefore it is suggested that its usefulness for monitoring the efficacy of antimicrobial agents in patients with Q fever endocarditis should be further evaluated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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