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Sputum bacteriology conversion and treatment outcome of patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

Authors Lv L, Li T, Xu K, Shi P, He B, Kong W, Wang J, Sun J

Received 8 October 2017

Accepted for publication 2 December 2017

Published 23 January 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 147—154


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Joachim Wink

Lingshuang Lv,1,* Tiecheng Li,2,* Kun Xu,1 Peiyi Shi,1 Biyu He,1 Weimin Kong,3 Jianming Wang,1 Jian Sun3

1Department of Epidemiology, Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China; 2Department of Tuberculosis, the Fourth People’s Hospital of Lianyungang City, Lianyungang, China; 3Department of Thoracic Surgery, the First People’s Hospital of Yancheng City, Yancheng, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) requires long-term treatment, has a high fatality rate, and constitutes a global threat. Earlier detection of treatment failure is required to predict therapeutic efficacy.
Patients and methods: We enrolled MDR-TB patients consecutively from January 2011 through December 2012 in Lianyungang, China. Sputum smear microscopy tests and sputum cultures were performed once a month for the first 6 months following initiation of antituberculosis treatment and once every 2 months thereafter until the end of therapy. The sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) were used with a 95% CI to estimate the role of sputum bacteriology conversion in predicting treatment outcomes.
Results: Among the 92 MDR-TB patients enrolled in this study, 40.2% had poor treatment outcomes. The median initial sputum bacteriology conversion time was 1 month. Patients having 2-month sputum smear conversions (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 7.19, 95% CI: 2.60–19.84) or culture conversions (adjusted OR: 2.88, 95% CI: 1.11–7.45) were more likely to experience good outcomes. The sensitivity and specificity obtained when using two-month sputum smear conversions to predict treatment outcomes were 67.6% (95% CI: 50.2–82.0) and 76.4% (95% CI: 63.0–86.8), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity obtained when using 2-month culture conversions to predict treatment outcomes were 48.6% (95% CI: 32.0–65.6) and 74.5% (95% CI: 61.0–85.3), respectively. The AUC for two-month smear conversions was 0.72 (95% CI: 0.62–0.81), significantly higher than that obtained for 2-month culture conversions (0.62, 95% CI: 0.52–0.72) (Χ2 = 4.18, P = 0.041).
Conclusion: The prognoses of MDR-TB patients displaying persistent sputum positivity were inferior to those for whom sputum bacteriology conversion was observed. Thus, sputum smear conversion results obtained 2 months after treatment initiation may provide a potential means for predicting MDR-TB treatment outcomes.

Keywords: multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, sputum smear conversion, sputum culture conversion, treatment outcome, prognosis

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