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Transpl Infect Dis. 2012 Apr;14(2):206-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2011.00687.x. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Clinical impact of the use of 16S rRNA sequencing method for the identification of "difficult-to-identify" bacteria in immunocompromised hosts.

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1
Division of Infectious Diseases, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Abstract

Molecular method of 16S rRNA sequencing is reported to be helpful in the accurate identification of organisms with ambiguous phenotypic profiles. We analyzed the use of 16S rRNA sequencing method to identify clinically significant, "difficult-to-identify" bacteria recovered from clinical specimens, and evaluated its role in patient management and consequent clinical outcome. Among the 172 "difficult-to-identify" bacteria recovered over a 4-year period, 140 were gram-positive cocci or gram-negative bacilli; identification by 16S rRNA did not play a role in the management of patients infected with these bacteria. From 32 patients, 33 "difficult-to-identify" gram-positive bacilli were identified; the organisms were mycobacteria, Nocardia, Tsukamurella, Rhodococcus, and Gordonia. In 24 patients for whom clinical data were available, results from the 16S rRNA sequencing method led to treatment change in 14 immunocompromised patients (including 7 hematopoietic stem cell recipients and 1 liver transplant recipient). Therapy was modified in 9 patients, initiated in 3 patients, and discontinued in 2 patients. Most patients' therapy was switched to oral antibiotics with discontinuation of intravascular catheters, facilitating early hospital discharge. All 14 patients were alive 30 days after infection onset. The present study demonstrates the clinical application of 16S rRNA sequencing method to identify "difficult-to-identify" mycobacteria and other gram-positive bacilli in clinical specimens, particularly in immunocompromised hosts.

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