Evaluation of Xpert MTB/RIF testing for rapid diagnosis of childhood pulmonary tuberculosis in children by Xpert MTB/RIF testing of stool samples in a low resource setting
Objective: Children with tuberculosis (TB) remain underdiagnosed due to difculty in testing for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection. We evaluated the Xpert MTB/RIF assay for respiratory and stool testing in children for pulmonary TB through a cross-sectional study at tertiary care facilities in Karachi, Pakistan. Fifty children aged 0–15 years screened by a modifed Kenneth-Jones (KJ) score were included. Mycobacterial culture of respiratory samples was the microbiological standard against stool Xpert TB results. All positive TB cases were compared against a treatment response standard (TRS).
Results: Twelve study subjects were diagnosed by Xpert TB and nine by MTB culture. Compared with culture [gastric aspirates (GA)/sputum (spm)], stool Xpert TB had a sensitivity of 88.9% (95% CI 50.7–99.4) and a specifcity of 95% (95% CI 81.8–99.1). Xpert TB stool versus GA/spm had sensitivity of 81.8% (95% CI 47.8–96.8) and specifcity of 94.7% (95% CI 84.6–99.9). We found good agreement (kappa scores of >0.8) between stool Xpert, GA/spm Xpert and GA/ spm culture. Stool Xpert PPV and NPV against TRS was 100 and 82.1% respectively. Stool Xpert TB is a relatively easy option for diagnosis for pulmonary childhood TB in a high burden low-resource setting