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Test ID: PNRP Pneumocystis jiroveci, Molecular Detection, PCR, Varies

Reporting Name

Pneumocystis PCR

Useful For

Preferred test for detection of Pneumocystis

Clinical Information

Pneumocystis pneumonia is an important cause of opportunistic infection in immunocompromised patients, particularly those with HIV. The causative agent, Pneumocystis jiroveci, cannot be cultured in vitro and, therefore, laboratory detection has historically relied upon microscopic identification directly from patient specimens using fluorescent stains or antibodies. Unfortunately, stains often lack sensitivity and require expertise on the part of the reader in order to differentiate Pneumocystis jiroveci from staining artifacts and other fungi. This real-time PCR assay provides sensitive (21% more sensitive than direct detection using fluorescent calcofluor white stain), specific, and objective detection of Pneumocystis from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and other specimens.


A positive result indicates the presence of Pneumocystis DNA.


A negative result indicates the absence of detectable Pneumocystis DNA.

Report Available

1 to 3 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday

Clinical Reference

1. Cushion MT: Pneumocystis. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. Eighth edition. Edited by PR Murray, EJ Baron, JH Jorgensen, et al: Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2003, pp 1712-1725

2. Maskell NA, Waine DJ, Lindley A, et al: Asymptomatic carriage of Pneumocystis jiroveci in subjects undergoing bronchoscopy: a prospective study. Thorax 2003;58(7):594-597

3. Miller RF, Ambrose HE, Wakefield AE: Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. hominis DNA in immunocompetent health care workers in contact with patients with P. carinii pneumonia. J Clin Microbiol 2001;39(11):3877-3882

4. Takahashi T, Goto M, Endo T, et al: Pneumocystis carinii carriage in immunocompromised patients with and without human immunodeficiency virus infection. J Med Microbiol 2002;51(7):611-614

5. Vargas SL, Hughes WT, Santolaya ME, et al: Search for primary infection by Pneumocystis carinii in a cohort of normal, healthy infants. Clin Infect Dis 2001;32(6):855-861

6. Wakefield AE, Lindley AR, Ambrose HE, et al: Limited asymptomatic carriage of Pneumocystis jiroveci in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. J Infect Dis 2003;187(6):901-908

Method Name

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Specimen Type


Shipping Instructions

Specimen must arrive within 7 days of collection; specimens older than 7 days will be rejected.

Necessary Information

Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required

The high sensitivity of amplification by PCR requires the specimen to be processed in an environment in which contamination of the specimen by Pneumocystis species DNA is unlikely.


Submit only 1 of the following specimens:



Specimen Type: Body fluid

Sources: Pleural

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 1 mL


Specimen Type: Respiratory

Sources: Bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial washing, tracheal secretions, or sputum

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 1 mL


Specimen Type: Tissue

Sources: Respiratory

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 5-10 mm

Collection Instructions:

1. Submit fresh tissue.

2. Keep tissue moist with sterile water or sterile saline



Specimen Type: NALC/NaOH-digested respiratory specimens

Sources: Lavage fluid, bronchial washing, respiratory fluid, sputum, or tracheal secretion

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: 2 mL

Collection Instructions:

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.5 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Varies Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days
  Frozen  7 days

Reference Values

Not applicable

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
PNRP Pneumocystis PCR 89996-3


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
SRC63 Specimen Source 31208-2
81698 Pneumocystis PCR, Result 89996-3
24188 Special Information 48767-8
24189 Report Status No LOINC Needed


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request (T244) with the specimen.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Neurology Catalog Additional Information:

mml-Demyelinating-Diseases, mml-Neuroimmunology, mml-CNS-Infections, mml-Pediatric