Changes to Quantitative Viral PCR Reporting of Low Positives

Quantitative PCR tests for viruses have a lower limit beyond which quantitation is unreliable.  Below this lower limit, the analyte being quantified is present but in an uncertain quantity, and results in this range have been historically reported as “<##” where ## is a number or log10 transformed number.  As of today, March 25, 2013, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Epstein Barr Virus (Blood and CSF) and Cytomegalovirus PCRs will be reported as “POS<##” to emphasize that low-positive results are indeed positive.   This more clearly distinguishes these results from those that are truly negative (no copies detected at all).

Test Affected Cerner Order Code Epic Code
Hepatitis B Virus DNA, Ultra Sensitive Quantitative PCR HBVQUANT LAB3284
Hepatitis C Virus; PCR HCVQNT LAB2465
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) Quantitative PCR EBVQNT LAB7789
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) Quantitative PCR, CSF EBVCSF LAB7846
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Quantitation by PCR CMVPCR LAB2227

Examples of how low-positive results for the EBV, HCV, CMV, and HBV tests will be shown are below:

Viral PCR Result Examples

Questions concerning testing can be directed to Bradley Ford, MD, PhD, Associate Medical Director of Microbiology (ext. 6-2990), or Aaron Bossler, MD, PhD, Medical Director of Molecular Pathology  (ext. 4-9566).