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Plasma Microbial Cell-free DNA Next-generation Sequencing Can Be a Useful Diagnostic Tool in Patients With Osteoarticular Infections

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2024 Jun 18;11(7):ofae328. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofae328. eCollection 2024 Jul.


BACKGROUND: Recent advances in shotgun metagenomic sequencing (sMGS) for detecting microbial cell-free DNA (mcfDNA) in peripheral blood have shown promise across various patient populations. This study evaluates the application of sMGS for diagnosing osteoarticular infections (OAIs), a condition with significant diagnostic challenges.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis on 73 patients suspected of OAIs at the Mayo Clinic from 2019 to 2023, incorporating mcfDNA sMGS (Karius test [KT]) into their diagnostic evaluation. We categorized the clinical impact of KT on OAI diagnoses and management into 4 distinct outcomes. (1) KT was able to confirm an established diagnosis, (2) KT supported noninfectious diseases diagnosis, (3) KT established an unsuspected diagnosis, (4) KT did not add relevant information.

RESULTS: In our cohort, KT was performed in 73 patients. Among the infected individuals, KT yielded positive results in 22 of 43 (51.2%) cases. Of these 22 cases, 11 (50%) showed agreement with conventional diagnostic workup, whereas in 5 (22.7%) cases, the KT established an unsuspected diagnosis. Native vertebral osteomyelitis diagnosis (P < .001) or OAIs with concomitant presence of endocarditis or endovascular infection (P = .005) were statistically associated with a definite, probable, or possible diagnostic certainty of KT result.

CONCLUSIONS: In complex OAIs, KT enhanced diagnostic accuracy by 11.6%, proving especially beneficial in diagnosing native vertebral osteomyelitis and infections with concurrent endocarditis or endovascular complications. Our findings underscore the utility of KT in the diagnostic workflow for challenging OAI cases, potentially altering clinical management for a significant subset of patients.

PMID:38989532 | PMC:PMC11234144 | DOI:10.1093/ofid/ofae328

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