Background. Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among transplant recipients. Monitoring transplant recipients by CMV IgM serology has been questioned by several studies due to the reported insensitivity of serologic tests relative to antigen detection methods. Methods. In this retrospective study, we have evaluated the performance of the new recombinant antigen-based Abbott AxSYM CMV IgM assay and compared it with CMV culture technique in a cohort of 40 liver transplant recipients who did not receive antiviral prophylaxis. Results. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for detection of CMV disease by the AxSYM CMV IgM assay were 90.0%, 60.0%, 69.2%, and 85.7%, respectively, and by culture the values were 100%, 55.0%, 69.0%, and 100%, respectively. Detection of CMV IgM occurred before or at the time of CMV disease in only R+ recipients. Conclusion. Although this assay is a sensitive test for CMV-specific IgM, detection of CMV IgM preceded detection of virus by culture in patients only when the liver transplant recipient was CMV immune before transplantation (R+).
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