Comparison of Auramine Phenol and ZN Staining in Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis with GeneXpert MTB/RIF as Gold Standard
Background: Pakistan faces an immense burden of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) due to large number of cases and limited resources. Despite the recent advancement in the diagnostic techniques for pulmonary TB, smear microscopy is still a useful technique for the diagnosis of this disease. This study was conducted in order to compare the diagnostic value of Auramine stain with the conventional Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) stain on the sputum smear for the diagnosis of pulmonary TB, keeping GeneXpert MTB/RIF as the gold standard.
Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 356 suspected patients of pulmonary TB referred to the Pathology laboratory from TB ward and OPD of District Head Quarter (DHQ) teaching hospital Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Sputum specimen were collected and two smears were prepared from each sputum sample on which Auramine phenol and Ziehl-Neelsen staining were carried out as per WHO recommendations. All these samples were further tested using Gene Xpert MTB/RIF technique. The sensitivity, specificity, Positive predictive value (PPV) and Negative predictive values (NPV) of ZN and Auramine stain were calculated and compared with GeneXpert MTB/RIF technique.
Results: Out of the total 356 samples, 64(18%) were positive and 291(82%) were negative by GeneXpert which was taken as the gold standard. On comparison with GeneXpert, percentage of true positive was greater in case of Auramine than ZN stained samples (16.29% versus 12.92%), while the percentage of false positive was same for both staining techniques (0.28%). There were lesser false negative cases observed in samples stained by Auramine as compared to the ones stained by ZN (1.68% versus 5.05%). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive values were 97.87%, 94.17%, 71.88 and 99.66%, respectively for the ZN staining and 98.31%, 97.98%, 90.63% and 99.66% respectively, for the Auramine phenol staining.
Conclusion: Smear microscopy using Auramine phenol stain is a useful technique for the diagnosis of pulmonary TB. The Auramine phenol staining with fluorescent microscopy is found to be superior to ZN staining because of higher sensitivity and specificity.
Keywords: Auramine phenol, Fluorescence microscopy, GeneXpert, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Ziehl-Neelsen
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