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Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); Gardnerella vaginalis, direct probe technique

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); Gardnerella vaginalis, direct probe technique


This procedure involves detecting the presence of Gardnerella vaginalis, a bacterium commonly associated with bacterial vaginosis, using a direct probe technique to identify its DNA or RNA.


This test is used to diagnose bacterial vaginosis, which can cause symptoms like vaginal discharge, odor, and irritation. The goal is to accurately identify the presence of Gardnerella vaginalis to guide appropriate treatment.


  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odor
  • Itching or irritation in the vaginal area
  • Suspected bacterial vaginosis
  • Repeated episodes of bacterial vaginosis


  • No specific preparation is typically required.
  • Patients may be asked to avoid using vaginal douches or tampons before the test.
  • Inform the healthcare provider about any medications or supplements being taken.

Procedure Description

  1. Sample Collection: A healthcare provider will collect a sample of vaginal discharge using a swab.
  2. Laboratory Analysis: The collected sample is sent to a lab where a direct probe technique is used to detect the DNA or RNA of Gardnerella vaginalis.
    • This involves adding a molecular probe that binds specifically to Gardnerella vaginalis nucleic acids if present.
    • Detection is usually done through hybridization and signal amplification techniques.


The sample collection takes only a few minutes, but laboratory analysis may take several hours or days to complete.


  • Outpatient clinic
  • Physician’s office
  • Hospital laboratory


  • Nurse
  • Laboratory technician
  • Physician (to interpret results)

Risks and Complications

  • Slight discomfort during sample collection
  • Rare risk of infection at the collection site
  • False-negative or false-positive results leading to misdiagnosis


  • Accurate identification of Gardnerella vaginalis
  • Informing targeted and effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis
  • Quick turnaround for sample collection


  • No significant recovery time required.
  • Patients can resume normal activities immediately after sample collection.
  • Follow-up appointments may be scheduled to review test results and discuss treatment options.


  • Gram stain of vaginal discharge
  • Culture of vaginal swab
  • Clinical diagnosis based on symptoms and Amsel criteria
    • Pros: Gram stain and clinical diagnosis may be faster and cheaper.
    • Cons: Direct probe technique is generally more specific and sensitive.

Patient Experience

  • Slight discomfort or mild pain during swab collection.
  • Minimal discomfort post-procedure.
  • No need for pain management typically.

    Patients should communicate any concerns or symptoms to their healthcare provider and follow up with recommended treatment plans to manage bacterial vaginosis effectively.

Medical Policies and Guidelines for Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); Gardnerella vaginalis, direct probe technique

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