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Hawaii Med J. 2010 Mar;69(3):68-9.

A "silent culture-negative" abdominal aortic mycotic aneurysm: Rapid detection of Bartonella species using PCR and high-throughput mass spectrometry.

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University of Hawai'i John A Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.


A gram-negative, rod-shaped microorganism was detected in a 69-year-old man suffering from chronic back pain but otherwise exhibiting no signs of infection. The bacterium could not be identified using any routine diagnostic modality. A research use only application utilizing PCR and Mass Spectrometry was performed on nucleic acid extracted from the tissue sample. These studies resulted in the implication of Bartonella quintana as the underlying cause of the infection. B. quintana is not a well-known cause of an abdominal aortic mycotic aneurysm. This article will discuss the B. quintana infection, its diagnosis and treatment, and reinforce the potential of B. quintana as a possible etiology in mycotic aneurysms that show no apparent indications of infection. It will also explore the potential use of polymerase chain reaction detected by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) to help identify B. quintana in a situation where other conventional methods prove non-informative.

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