Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may be asymptomatic until hearing loss manifests in childhood. Because diagnosis of congenital CMV requires viral detection within an infant's first 21 days of life, CMV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) placental tissue provides a unique opportunity to identify congenital exposure in cases in which CMV is not initially suspected. To assess the utility of this approach, a database of all CMV cultures performed from July 2001 to March 2012 was used to identify infants in whom urine CMV cultures were obtained within 100 days of life. Corresponding placentas were then identified through the pathology database. The database was also queried to identify placentas in which CMV immunohistochemical analysis had been performed. CMV PCR was positive in FFPE placental tissue from 100% (5/5) of cases in which the first urine culture collected before the first 21 days of life was positive. Placentas from 20 infants with negative CMV urine cultures were CMV PCR negative. Interestingly, CMV was detected in 12.5% (1/8) of placentas in which the first CMV-positive urine culture was collected after the first 21 days of life. Furthermore, 4% (1/26) of placentas with chronic villitis by histology (no urine cultures available) were CMV PCR positive. In the 10 CMV PCR-positive placentas, including 3 cases of fetal demise, CMV immunohistochemistry was positive in just 6 cases. These results suggest that the confirmation of CMV exposure in utero by PCR of FFPE placental tissue provides a useful adjunct to histologic evaluation and may identify infants requiring close clinical follow-up.
View details for DOI 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318290f171
View details for PubMedID 23797721