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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Panminerva Medica 2007 March;49(1):1-6


language: English

Rapid shell vial culture for the detection of respiratory viruses from bronchoalveolar lavage in immunocompromised patients

Costa C. 1, Libertucci D. 2, Solidoro P. 2, Sinesi F. 1, Bergallo M. 1, Margio S. 1, Piana F. 1, Baldi S. 2, Cavallo R. 1

1 Virology Unit Department of Public Health and Microbiology University of Turin, Turin, Italy 2 Pulmonary Division S. Giovanni Battista Hospital, Turin, Italy


Aim. Viral lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) are an important cause of morbidity in immunocompromised patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical impact of rapid shell vial cultures from bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).
Methods. Sixty-seven BAL samples from 46 patients have been retrospectively examined: 51 from 31 transplant recipients and 16 from 15 immunocompromised patients. BAL were inoculated on human embryonic lung fibroblasts and VERO cells to isolate the following viruses: cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpesviruses, varicella-zoster virus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, Influenza viruses A and B and Parainfluenza viruses. Clinical, microbiological, laboratory, and radiological data were collected.
Results. A LRTI was present in 56.7% of cases: viral 40.3%, bacterial and/or fungal 23.9%, and mixed 7.5%. CMV accounted for 92.6% of viral LRTI. The prevalence of viral infections did not differ between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients; only bacterial and/or fungal infections were significantly more prevalent in symptomatic patients. No clinical, radiological or laboratory feature was significantly associated with the presence of a viral LRTI. In lung transplant recipients the rate of CMV infection was 50%. The result of BAL suggested commencement of antiviral chemotherapy in 25/67 episodes.
Conclusion. Rapid shell vial culture and immunofluorescence techniques from BAL could play an important role in the clinical management of immunocompromised subjects.

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