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You are here: Contents > 2013 > Volume 22 Number 6 November 2013 > INFECTIVE ENDOCARDITIS > 16S rRNA Sequencing as a Diagnostic Tool in the Identification of Culture-Negative Endocarditis in Surgically Treated Patients

16S rRNA Sequencing as a Diagnostic Tool in the Identification of Culture-Negative Endocarditis in Surgically Treated Patients

Naveen Kumar V1, Thangam Menon1, Padmaja Pathipati2, Kotturathu Mammen Cherian3

1Department of Microbiology, University of Madras, Dr. ALMudaliar Postgraduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Taramani, Chennai, and Departments of 2Microbiology and 3CardioThoracic Surgery, Frontier Lifeline Hospital, Mogappair, Chennai, India

Background and aim of the study: Infective endocarditis (IE) is a worldwide problem, and at least one-third of cases are culture-negative despite the use of appropriate laboratory techniques.

Methods: A broad-range polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification was performed of the 16S rRNA gene, followed by single-strand sequencing for 26 surgically removed heart valves from patients with culture-negative endocarditis who had undergone valve repair or replacement.


Results: Two of the 26 patients were PCR-positive, and sequencing of the amplicon identified the etiological agent. Gram-stained smears of the heart valves were positive in both cases. Three of the remaining 24 cases which were negative by PCR also showed the presence of micro-organisms in Gramstained smears.

Conclusion: The study results emphasize that, in suspected IE cases when there is no growth in culture, a combination of microscopy and 16S rRNA sequencing can be used to identify the pathogen in excised valvular tissue.

The Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2013;22:846-849

16S rRNA Sequencing as a Diagnostic Tool in the Identification of Culture-Negative Endocarditis in Surgically Treated Patients

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