Which virus-specific lab studies are used for the diagnosis of cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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CMV pneumonia is diagnosed on the basis of clinical presentation in the appropriate host (severely immunocompromised patient) and histopathologic findings (owl's eyes basophilic intranuclear inclusions) on lung biopsy tissue. Blood CMV PCR and/or CMV blood culture positivity lends further support for the diagnosis. However, positive CMV cultures and/or PCR should be interpreted in view of other evidence of disease, because asymptomatic shedding can occur in saliva, sputa, blood, urine, and other body fluids.

Documentation of viremia by shell vial culture technique correlates with positive CMV blood cultures and usually signifies CMV disease, with the above caveats. Presence of pp65 antigenemia also correlates with the development of CMV disease in the HSCT population.

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