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Evaluation of commercial universal rRNA gene PCR plus sequencing tests for identification of bacteria and fungi associated with infectious endocarditis.

Two new commercially available universal rRNA gene PCR plus sequencing tests, SepsiTest and universal microbe detection (UMD; Molzym, Bremen, Germany), were evaluated using blood specimens and heart valves from 30 patients with suspected infectious endocarditis (IE). The sensitivity of PCR (85%) was nearly twice as high as that of culture (45%), which in 10/20 IE cases presumably stayed negative as a consequence of growth inhibition of the pathogens by antibiotics. Further, PCR provided the basis for reclassification of 5/10 non-IE cases into IE cases. Culture-negative infections were identified by PCR, including single infections due to streptococci and Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Haemophilus parainfluenzae) and mixed infections involving two Gram-positive bacteria or Candida spp. with Gram-positive bacteria. The new commercial tests proved to be of value for the rapid diagnosis of IE, particularly in cases of culture-negative infections. Issues regarding the feasibility of these tests for routine use are discussed.

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