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Role of multiplex polymerase chain reaction in diagnosing tubercular meningitis.

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is one of the most serious manifestations of extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Timely and accurate diagnosis provides a favorable prognosis in patients with TBM. The study evaluated the use of multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the diagnosis of TBM. A study was conducted on 74 patients clinically suspected with TBM. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens were processed for smear microscopy, middle brook 7H9 culture, and multiplex PCR using primers directed against IS6110 gene and 38 kD protein for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The results were analyzed to assess the role of multiplex PCR in the diagnosis of TBM. A total of 26 (35.1%) patients were diagnosed with TBM. Microscopy was negative in all while culture was positive in two cases only. Comparing with clinical diagnosis and CSF adenosine deaminase levels of ≥10 U/L, multiplex PCR showed sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 71.4%, 89.6%, 83.3%, and 81.2%, respectively, in the diagnosis of TBM.

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