GeneXpert MTB/Rif to Diagnose Tuberculous Meningitis: Perhaps the First Test but not the Last.
Bahr NC., Marais S., Caws M., van Crevel R., Wilkinson RJ., Tyagi JS., Thwaites GE., Boulware DR., Tuberculous Meningitis International Research Consortium None.
Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe form of tuberculous with substantial mortality. In May 2015, 54 researchers from 10 countries met in Da Lat, Vietnam, to discuss advances in TBM. Among the attendees were researchers involved in pivotal studies on the use of Xpert MTB/Rif for TBM diagnosis. Attendees discussed the 2014 World Health Organization strong recommendation favoring the use of Xpert "in preference to conventional microscopy and culture as the initial diagnostic test for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) if the sample volume is low or if additional specimens cannot be obtained to make a quick diagnosis." Attendees were concerned that the limitations of Xpert testing for TBM are not emphasized. Clear guidance is needed for the investigational pathway for TBM, including recommendations on the diagnostic package of investigations, which does not stop with Xpert testing. Second, emphasis on the large CSF volumes (ideally 8-10 mL) needed for Xpert testing is required. Guidelines should also emphasize that TBM is a medical emergency and early treatment reduces mortality.