Utility of galactomannan antigen detection in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in immunocompromised patients


Correspondence: Dr K. R. Brownback MD, University of Kansas Medical Center, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Mail Stop 3007, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.

Tel.: +(913) 588 6045. Fax: +(913) 588 4098.

E-mail: kbrownback@kumc.edu


Diagnosis of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a challenging process in immunocompromised patients. Galactomannan (GM) antigen detection in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid is a method to detect IPA with improved sensitivity over conventional studies. We sought to determine the diagnostic yield of BAL GM assay in a diverse population of immunocompromised patients. A retrospective review of 150 fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) with BAL for newly diagnosed pulmonary infiltrate in immunocompromised patients was performed. Patient information, procedural details and laboratory studies were collected. BAL and serum samples were evaluated for GM using enzyme-linked immunoassay. Of 150 separate FOB with BAL, BAL GM was obtained in 143 samples. There were 31 positive BAL GM assays. In those 31 positive tests, 13 were confirmed as IPA, giving a positive predictive value of 41.9%. There was one false negative BAL GM. Of the 18 false positive BAL GM, 4 were receiving piperacillin–tazobactam and 11 were receiving an alternative beta-lactam antibiotic. BAL GM assay shows excellent sensitivity for diagnosing IPA. There was a significant number of false positive BAL GM assays and several of those patients were receiving beta-lactam antibiotics at the time of bronchoscopy.