4 years ago

Light-emitting diode fluorescent microscopy and Xpert MTB/RIF® assay for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis among patients attending Ambo hospital, west-central Ethiopia

Hassen Mamo, Abebaw Kebede, Alemu Gadissa Gelalcha



The relatively simple and cheaper light-emitting diode fluorescent microscopy (LED-FM) was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to replace the conventional tuberculosis (TB) microscopy in both high- and low-volume laboratories. More recently the WHO also endorsed one more technique, Xpert MTB/RIF® assay (Xpert), for improved TB diagnosis particularly among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected cases. However, the relative performance of both of these tools differs from setting to setting in reference to the conventional TB diagnostics. This study thus aimed to evaluate these tools for TB detection in individuals visiting Ambo Hospital, west-central Ethiopia.


Cross-sectional early-morning sputum samples were collected from presumptive TB patients between January and August 2015. Socio-demographic data were captured using a structured questionnaire. Clinical information was gathered from patients’ medical records. The sputum samples were diagnosed using LED-FM, Xpert, concentrated Ziehl-Neelsen (cZN) staining and Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) culture as the gold standard. Drug sensitivity test (DST) was also conducted.


Out of 362 sputum samples collected and processed, 36(9.9%) were positive by LED-FM, 42(11.6%) by cZN and 50(13.8%) by Xpert. But, only 340 samples could be declared culture positive or negative for mycobacteria. Of these 340, eight were non-tubercle mycobacteria (NTM). Out of the remaining 332 samples, 45(13.6%) had culture-confirmed TB with 11(24.4%) being HIV co-infected. LED-FM, Xpert and culture detected 54.5% (6/11), 90.9% (10/11) and 100% (11/11) mycobacteria in HIV-positive individuals and 81.3% (26/32), 73.7% (28/38), 78.8% (26/33) and 73.2% (30/41), in HIV negatives respectively. Two samples were rifampicin resistant by both Xpert and DST. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of LED-FM and Xpert were 77.8, 100, 100 and 96; and 93.3, 98, 97.5 and 98.9% respectively.


The data demonstrated the high diagnostic yield of Xpert. LED-FM sensitivity is higher compared to results quoted by recent systematic reviews although it appears to be lower than what was cited in the WHO policy statement (83.6%) during the recommendation of the technology. The high specificity of LED-FM in the study area is encouraging and is expected to boost its reliability and uptake.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12879-017-2701-5

DOI: 10.1186/s12879-017-2701-5

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