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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44626. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044626. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

A diagnostic accuracy study of Xpert®MTB/RIF in HIV-positive patients with high clinical suspicion of pulmonary tuberculosis in Lima, Peru.

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Facultad de Medicina Alberto Hurtado, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.



Diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients remains complex and demands easy to perform and accurate tests. Xpert®MTB/RIF (MTB/RIF) is a molecular TB diagnostic test which is rapid and convenient; the test requires minimal human resources and reports results within two hours. The majority of performance studies of MTB/RIF have been performed in high HIV burden settings, thus TB diagnostic studies among HIV patients in low HIV prevalence settings such as Peru are still needed.


From April 2010 to May 2011, HIV-positive patients with high clinical suspicion of TB were enrolled from two tertiary hospitals in Lima, Peru. Detection of TB by MTB/RIF was compared to a composite reference standard Löwenstein-Jensen (LJ) and liquid culture. Detection of rifampicin resistance was compared to the LJ proportion method. We included 131 patients, the median CD4 cell count was 154.5 cells/mm(3) and 45 (34.4%) had TB. For TB detection among HIV patients, sensitivity of MTB/RIF was 97.8% (95% CI 88.4-99.6) (44/45); specificity was 97.7% (95% CI 91.9-99.4) (84/86); the positive predictive value was 95.7% (95% CI 85.5-98.8) (44/46); and the negative predictive value, 98.8% (95% CI 93.6-99.8) (84/85). MTB/RIF detected 13/14 smear-negative TB cases, outperforming smear microscopy [97.8% (44/45) vs. 68.9% (31/45); p = 0.0002]. For rifampicin resistance detection, sensitivity of MTB/RIF was 100% (95% CI 61.0-100.0) (6/6); specificity was 91.0% (95% CI 76.4-96.9) (30/33); the positive predictive value was 66.7% (95% CI 35.4-87.9) (6/9); and the negative predictive value was 100% (95% CI 88.7 -100.0) (30/30).


In HIV patients in our population with a high clinical suspicion of TB, MTB/RIF performed well for TB diagnosis and outperformed smear microscopy.

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