JOURNAL ARTICLE

Serum and bal beta-D-glucan for the diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia in HIV positive patients

D Salerno, D Mushatt, L Myers, Y Zhuang, N de la Rua, E J Calderon, D A Welsh
Respiratory Medicine 2014, 108 (11): 1688-95
25448310

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: The diagnosis of patients with pulmonary infiltrates and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remains a challenge. In current clinical practice the gold standard for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) diagnosis remains the identification of the organism in bronco alveolar lavage (BAL) using microscopy (e.g., silver stain). (1->3)-β -d-glucan (BG) is a polysaccharide that is present within the cell wall of Pneumocystis and other fungi.

METHODS: We analyzed serum and BAL lavage fluid from a cohort of 119 patients that did have HIV, a diagnosis of pneumonia and underwent bronchoscopy (FOB) for diagnosis of PCP.

RESULTS: The discriminative power of serum BG for the diagnosis of PCP in this group of patients was very high. Using a cutoff of 300 pg/mL, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value(PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were 91%, 92%, 89% and 93% respectively. A model for ROC with just serum BG (N = 108) had an AUC of 0.95. Serum procalcitonin (PCT) and BAL BG were not as accurate for the diagnosis of PCP. For BAL BG using a cutoff of 783 pg/mL, the sensitivity,specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were 72%, 79%,72% and 79% respectively. The differences between the medians for serum PCT between the group with a without PCP did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.6137).

CONCLUSION: The measurement of serum BG should be incorporated in the diagnostic work up of HIV positive patients with dyspnea and infiltrates on chest X X-ray. Our study confirms the diagnostic value of serum BG previously reported by others but we add a cutoff value that we believe is more accurate for patients with AIDS and suspicion of PCP.

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