The value of polymerase chain reaction for the diagnosis of viral respiratory tract infections in lung transplant recipients

Adriana Weinberg, Martin R. Zamora, Shaobing Li, Fernando Torres, Tony N. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


Background: Respiratory viruses cause severe infections in lung transplant recipients, which require rapid and accurate diagnosis for appropriate management. Objectives: To evaluate the added benefit of a multiplex PCR for respiratory viruses (influenza [FLU] A and B, respiratory syncytial virus [RSV] A and B and parainfluenza virus [PIV] 1, 2, and 3) complementing rapid respiratory viral culture (RRV) and FLU-A antigen detection (EIA) in this transplant population. Results: Over 6 months, 116 nasal washes and bronchoalveolar lavages, obtained from 72 lung transplant recipients with symptoms of upper or lower respiratory tract infections, were tested in real time by RRV and FLU-A EIA, and batched frozen by PCR. One or more methods recognized a respiratory virus in 31 (27%) specimens, including 15 FLU-A, nine RSV and seven PIV. PCR identified 26 of 31 positive samples demonstrating a sensitivity of 84%, higher than RRV (67%) or EIA (54%). PCR, RRV and EIA detected 60, 80 and 54%, respectively, FLU-A samples. PCR and RRV were equivalent for RSV-A, PIV-2 and 3, but PCR found a significantly higher number of RSV-B and PIV-1. Conclusions: These data indicate that routine use of PCR will enhance the number and speed with which viral respiratory tract infections are diagnosed in lung transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-175
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002



  • Lung transplant
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Respiratory tract infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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