Objective: This systematic review evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF to detect tuberculous meningitis (TBM). Methods: PubMed and five other databases were systematically searched through March 2019. All studies evaluating diagnostic accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were included. Reference standards were definitive or definite plus probable TBM. The quality of studies was assessed by the QUADAS-2 tool. We performed bivariate random-effects meta-analysis and calculated summary diagnostic statistics. Results: We identified 30 studies (n = 3972 participants), including 5 cohort studies and 25 cross-sectional studies. Reference standards were definite TB (n = 28 studies) or definite plus probable TBM (n = 6 studies). The pooled Xpert MTB/RIF sensitivity was 85% (95% CI, 70–93%), and specificity was 98% (95% CI, 97–99%) with a negative likelihood ratio of 0.15 (95% CI, 0.04–0.27) for definite TBM. For probable TBM cases, pooled sensitivity was 81% (95% CI, 66–90%), and specificity was 99% (95% CI, 97–99%). For both reference standard types, meta-analyses showed a C-statistic area under the curve of 0.98. The QUADAS-2 tool revealed low risk of bias as well as low concerns regarding applicability. Methodological heterogeneity was high among studies. Conclusions: Xpert MTB/RIF showed high accuracy for TBM diagnosis, but a negative Xpert MTB/RIF test does not rule out TBM. Repeat Xpert testing may be necessary. In clinical practice, Xpert MTB/RIF adds speed and sensitivity when compared to classic TBM diagnostic methods or previous commercial nucleic acid amplification techniques. More studies and better strategies for rapidly confirming a diagnosis of TBM in children are urgently needed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
DRB is supported by U.S. National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke and the Fogarty International Center.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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- Tuberculous meningitis
- Xpert MTB/RIF
- systematic review
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article