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1.  Fiberoptic bronchoscopy, as a valuable diagnostic option in sputum negative pulmonary tuberculosis: A prospective study 
World Health Organization recommends bacteriological confirmation of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) by the detection of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) in respiratory specimens. However about 40-60% of patients with PTB suspected clinically or radiologically may fail to produce sputum, or when it is available, AFB may be negative on repeated smear examination. These sputum smear negative patients and those who fail to produce any sputum can be diagnosed by flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy.
Our study was an attempt to analyze the role of fiberoptic bronchoscopy in sputum smear negative PTB patients with respect to their association with clinical and radiological profile.
Materials and Methods:
In this prospective, open label, observational study, 40 cases of sputum smear negative PTB were subjected to bronchoscopic examination after taking informed consent and samples like bronchial aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage and post bronchoscopy sputum were collected. The data was analysed and the results were given in percentage.
Out of the total 40 patients, overall diagnosis was confirmed in 24 (60%) patients. Of these 24 patients, 17 patients were confirmed for PTB whereas 7 had other diagnoses.
The study concludes that fiberoptic bronchoscopy is a useful tool in diagnosing sputum smear negative PTB patients with respect to their association with clinical and radiological profile, and also identifies individuals at a higher risk for progression of disease, at an early stage despite not meeting routine bacteriological criteria for confirmation of PTB.
PMCID: PMC3678692  PMID: 23776825
AFB-negative; pulmonary tuberculosis; AFB-negative sputum; fiberoptic bronchoscopy; pulmonary tuberculosis
2.  Fiberoptic bronchoscopy for the rapid diagnosis of smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:141.
This study was aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) with chest high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) for the rapid diagnosis of active pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in patients suspected of PTB but found to have a negative sputum acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear.
We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of results from FOB and HRCT in 126 patients at Gangnam Severance Hospital (Seoul, Korea) who were suspected of having PTB.
Of 126 patients who had negative sputum AFB smears but were suspected of having PTB, 54 patients were confirmed as having active PTB. Hemoptysis was negatively correlated with active PTB. Tree-in-bud appearance on HRCT was significantly associated with active PTB. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of FOB alone was 75.9%, 97.2%, 95.3%, and 84.3%, respectively, for the rapid diagnosis of active PTB. The combination of FOB and HRCT improved the sensitivity to 96.3% and the NPV to 96.2%.
FOB is a useful tool in the rapid diagnosis of active PTB with a high sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV in sputum smear-negative PTB-suspected patients. HRCT improves the sensitivity of FOB when used in combination with FOB in sputum smear-negative patients suspected of having PTB.
PMCID: PMC3507815  PMID: 22726571
3.  Diagnosing sputum/smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis: Does fibre-optic bronchoscopy play a significant role? 
Diagnosis of sputum/smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis patients can be both challenging and time consuming with many patients being put on empirical anti-tubercular treatment. Fibreoptic bronchoscopy may provide a confirmative and early diagnosis in such patients.
To assess the role of fibreoptic bronchoscopy in the diagnosis of sputum /smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis.
Materials and Methods:
The study was conducted on 75 suspected sputum / smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis cases attending Pulmonary Medicine Department of Mamata Medical College and Hospital, Khammam, AP. Fibreoptic bronchoscopy was performed; culture of sputum and bronchial washings for Mycobacterium tuberculosis was done by BACTEC method.
A final diagnosis of sputum /smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis was made in 60 patients. Bronchial washings smear for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) was positive in 21 patients while culture of bronchial washings was positive in 39 patients. In 29 patients, smear or culture of bronchial washing alone contributed to the final diagnosis. Total yield of bronchoscopy in diagnosis of sputum smear negative pulmonary tuberculosis was 83.33% (50/60); bronchoscopy was the only diagnostic method in 66% cases (40/60) with bronchial washings being the only diagnostic method in 48.33%. Bronchial washings smear for AFB and histopathological evidence of caseating granuloma made immediate diagnosis possible in 48.33% (29/60) patients.
Our study suggests that fibreoptic bronchoscopy can provide excellent material for diagnosis of suspected cases of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in whom smears of expectorated sputum do not reveal mycobacteria.
PMCID: PMC2893426  PMID: 20616936
Bronchial washings; fibreoptic bronchoscopy; pulmonary tuberculosis; sputum smear negative
4.  Retrospective observational study of diagnostic accuracy of the Xpert® MTB/RIF assay on fiberoptic bronchoscopy sampling for early diagnosis of smear-negative or sputum-scarce patients with suspected tuberculosis 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:137.
Fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) is a useful diagnosis tool in low-burden countries for patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) who are smear-negative or sputum-scarce. This study sought to determine the accuracy of the Xpert® MTB/RIF (XP) assay using FOB samples.
We retrospectively reviewed clinical, radiological, and microbiological characteristics of 175 TB-suspected patients requiring diagnostic FOB (bronchial aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage) with XP assay. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and smear microscopy (SM) performances were first compared to culture, then to the final diagnosis, established based on clinical or radiological evolution when cultures were negative.
Of the total 162 included patients, 30 (18.5%) had a final diagnosis of pulmonary TB, with positive cultures reported in 23. As compared to culture, sensitivity and specificity values were 80.0% and 98.6% for the XP assay, and 25.0% and 95.8% for SM, respectively. As compared to final diagnosis, the corresponding performance values were 60.0% and 100.0% for the XP assay, and 16.7% and 95.5% for SM, respectively. The sensitivity of the XP assay was significantly higher than that of SM in both cases (p = 0.003 and p = 0.001). Concerning the final diagnosis, both XP assay and culture sensitivities were similar (60% vs. 66.7%). PCR assay enabled pulmonary TB to be diagnosed earlier in 13 more cases, compared to SM.
Our study has confirmed the clinical benefits provided by XP assay compared to SM for the early diagnosis of suspected pulmonary TB cases requiring FOB, on per procedure samples, especially in a low TB-burden country.
PMCID: PMC4137109  PMID: 25115239
Tuberculosis diagnosis; Fiberoptic bronchoscopy; Xpert® MTB/RIF assay; Smear microscopy
5.  Study of bronchoalveolar lavage in clinically and radiologically suspected cases of pulmonary tuberculosis 
About 30 to 50 % of pulmonary tuberculosis patients have sputum report negative for acid fast bacilli or present with no expectoration. A lot of research is going on to find methods to establish early and accurate diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) as institutions of early treatment can have significant effects on morbidity and mortality of patients and also the development of MDR–TB. Samples other than sputum play an important role in the diagnosis of disease in such patients.
To assess the significance of bronchoalveolar lavage samples and fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) in the early diagnosis of occult sputum smear negative pulmonary tuberculosis.
Settings and Design:
Study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital. FOB was performed in patients with three consecutive sputum smear negative acid fast bacilli to obtain bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples. Written informed consent was obtained from these patients.
Materials and Methods:
BAL samples were subjected to Z-N staining and culture on L-J slopes for acid fast bacilli. Sputum samples from the same patients were also cultured.
BAL samples were positive in 82.2% of sputum smear negative samples. Culture positivity of BAL samples was 90.9% as compared to sputum culture positivity which was 26.4%. Overall diagnosis could be established in 86.6% of patients with the help of fiber optic bronchoscopy.
BAL samples are very useful in early sputum smear negative pulmonary tuberculosis and FOB can play an important role in diagnosis of lower respiratory tract infections with minimal complications in hands of an expert.
PMCID: PMC2946711  PMID: 20931028
Bronchoalveolar lavage; fiber optic bronchoscopy; occult tuberculosis; lower respiratory tract infection; tuberculosis
6.  Cost-effectiveness analysis of PCR for the rapid diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis 
Tuberculosis is one of the most prominent health problems in the world, causing 1.75 million deaths each year. Rapid clinical diagnosis is important in patients who have co-morbidities such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. Direct microscopy has low sensitivity and culture takes 3 to 6 weeks [1-3]. Therefore, new tools for TB diagnosis are necessary, especially in health settings with a high prevalence of HIV/TB co-infection.
In a public reference TB/HIV hospital in Brazil, we compared the cost-effectiveness of diagnostic strategies for diagnosis of pulmonary TB: Acid fast bacilli smear microscopy by Ziehl-Neelsen staining (AFB smear) plus culture and AFB smear plus colorimetric test (PCR dot-blot).
From May 2003 to May 2004, sputum was collected consecutively from PTB suspects attending the Parthenon Reference Hospital. Sputum samples were examined by AFB smear, culture, and PCR dot-blot. The gold standard was a positive culture combined with the definition of clinical PTB. Cost analysis included health services and patient costs.
The AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot require the lowest laboratory investment for equipment (US$ 20,000). The total screening costs are 3.8 times for AFB smear plus culture versus for AFB smear plus PCR dot blot costs (US$ 5,635,760 versus US$ 1,498, 660). Costs per correctly diagnosed case were US$ 50,773 and US$ 13,749 for AFB smear plus culture and AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot, respectively. AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot was more cost-effective than AFB smear plus culture, when the cost of treating all correctly diagnosed cases was considered. The cost of returning patients, which are not treated due to a negative result, to the health service, was higher in AFB smear plus culture than for AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot, US$ 374,778,045 and US$ 110,849,055, respectively.
AFB smear associated with PCR dot-blot associated has the potential to be a cost-effective tool in the fight against PTB for patients attended in the TB/HIV reference hospital.
PMCID: PMC2811112  PMID: 20043842
7.  Additional role of second washing specimen obtained during single bronchoscopy session in diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:404.
Flexible bronchoscopy with bronchial washing is a useful procedure for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), when a patient cannot produce sputum spontaneously or when sputum smears are negative. However, the benefit of gaining serial bronchial washing specimens for diagnosis of TB has not yet been studied. Therefore, we conducted a retrospective study to determine the diagnostic utility of additional bronchial washing specimens for the diagnosis of pulmonary TB in suspected patients.
A retrospective analysis was performed on 174 patients [sputum smear-negative, n = 95 (55%); lack of sputum specimen, n = 79 (45%)] who received flexible bronchoscopy with two bronchial washing specimens with microbiological confirmation of pulmonary TB in Samsung Medical Center, between January, 2010 and December, 2011.
Pulmonary TB was diagnosed by first bronchial washing specimen in 141 patients (81%) out of 174 enrolled patients, and an additional bronchial washing specimen established diagnosis exclusively in 22 (13%) patients. Smear for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) was positive in 46 patients (26%) for the first bronchial washing specimen. Thirteen patients (7%) were positive only on smear of an additional bronchial washing specimen. Combined smear positivity of the first and second bronchial washing specimens was significantly higher compared to first bronchial washing specimen alone [Total cases: 59 (34%) vs. 46 (26%), p < 0.001; cases for smear negative sputum: 25 (26%) vs. 18 (19%), p = 0.016; cases for poor expectoration: 34 (43%) vs. 28 (35%), p = 0.031]. The diagnostic yield determined by culture was also significantly higher in combination of the first and second bronchial washing specimens compared to the first bronchial washing. [Total cases: 163 (94%) vs. 141 (81%), p < 0.001; cases for smear negative sputum: 86 (91%) vs. 73 (77%), p < 0.001; cases for poor expectoration: 77 (98%) vs. 68 (86%), p = 0.004].
Obtaining an additional bronchial washing specimen could be a beneficial and considerable option for diagnosis of TB in patients with smear-negative sputum or who cannot produce sputum samples.
PMCID: PMC3765986  PMID: 24059248
Bronchial washing; Bronchoscopy; Diagnosis; Tuberculosis
8.  Comparison of Xpert MTB/RIF with Other Nucleic Acid Technologies for Diagnosing Pulmonary Tuberculosis in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Prospective Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(7):e1001061.
In this prospective, real-world cohort study nested within a national screening program for tuberculosis, Lesley Scott and colleagues compare the performance of Xpert MTB/RIF on a single sputum sample with different TB sputum detection technologies.
The Xpert MTB/RIF (Cepheid) non-laboratory-based molecular assay has potential to improve the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), especially in HIV-infected populations, through increased sensitivity, reduced turnaround time (2 h), and immediate identification of rifampicin (RIF) resistance. In a prospective clinical validation study we compared the performance of Xpert MTB/RIF, MTBDRplus (Hain Lifescience), LightCycler Mycobacterium Detection (LCTB) (Roche), with acid fast bacilli (AFB) smear microscopy and liquid culture on a single sputum specimen.
Methods and Findings
Consecutive adults with suspected TB attending a primary health care clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, were prospectively enrolled and evaluated for TB according to the guidelines of the National TB Control Programme, including assessment for smear-negative TB by chest X-ray, clinical evaluation, and HIV testing. A single sputum sample underwent routine decontamination, AFB smear microscopy, liquid culture, and phenotypic drug susceptibility testing. Residual sample was batched for molecular testing. For the 311 participants, the HIV prevalence was 70% (n = 215), with 120 (38.5%) culture-positive TB cases. Compared to liquid culture, the sensitivities of all the test methodologies, determined with a limited and potentially underpowered sample size (n = 177), were 59% (47%–71%) for smear microscopy, 76% (64%–85%) for MTBDRplus, 76% (64%–85%) for LCTB, and 86% (76%–93%) for Xpert MTB/RIF, with specificities all >97%. Among HIV+ individuals, the sensitivity of the Xpert MTB/RIF test was 84% (69%–93%), while the other molecular tests had sensitivities reduced by 6%. TB detection among smear-negative, culture-positive samples was 28% (5/18) for MTBDRplus, 22% (4/18) for LCTB, and 61% (11/18) for Xpert MTB/RIF. A few (n = 5) RIF-resistant cases were detected using the phenotypic drug susceptibility testing methodology. Xpert MTB/RIF detected four of these five cases (fifth case not tested) and two additional phenotypically sensitive cases.
The Xpert MTB/RIF test has superior performance for rapid diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis over existing AFB smear microscopy and other molecular methodologies in an HIV- and TB-endemic region. Its place in the clinical diagnostic algorithm in national health programs needs exploration.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Tuberculosis (TB)—a contagious bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs—is a global public health problem. In 2009, 9.4 million people developed TB, and 1.7 million people died from the disease; a quarter of these deaths were in HIV-positive individuals. People who are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are particularly susceptible to TB because of their weakened immune system. Consequently, TB is a leading cause of illness and death among people living with HIV. TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread in airborne droplets when people with the disease cough or sneeze. Its characteristic symptoms are a persistent cough, night sweats, and weight loss. Diagnostic tests for TB include sputum smear analysis (the microscopic examination of mucus brought up from the lungs by coughing for the presence of M. tuberculosis) and mycobacterial liquid culture (in which bacteriologists try to grow M. tuberculosis from sputum samples and test its drug sensitivity). TB can usually be cured by taking several powerful drugs daily for at least six months.
Why Was This Study Done?
Mycobacterial culture is a sensitive but slow way to diagnose TB. To halt the disease's spread, it is essential that TB—particularly TB that is resistant to several treatment drugs (multidrug-resistant, or MDR, TB)—is diagnosed quickly. Recently, several nucleic acid amplification technology (NAAT) tests have been developed that rapidly detect M. tuberculosis DNA in patient samples and look for DNA changes that make M. tuberculosis drug-resistant. In December 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed Xpert MTB/RIF—an automated DNA test that detects M. tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance (an indicator of MDR TB) within two hours—for the investigation of patients who might have TB, especially in regions where MDR TB and HIV infection are common. TB diagnosis in HIV-positive people can be difficult because they are more likely to have smear-negative TB than HIV-negative individuals. In this prospective study, the researchers compare the performance of Xpert MTB/RIF on a single sputum sample with that of smear microscopy, liquid culture, and two other NAAT tests (MTBDRplus and LightCycler Mycobacterium Detection) in adults who might have TB in Johannesburg (South Africa), a region where many adults are HIV-positive.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers evaluated adults with potential TB attending a primary health care clinic for TB according to national guidelines and determined their HIV status. A sputum sample from 311 participants underwent smear microscopy, liquid culture, and drug susceptibility testing; 177 samples were also tested for TB using NAAT tests. They found that 70% of the participants were HIV-positive and 38.5% had culture-positive TB. Compared to liquid culture, smear microscopy, MTBDRplus, LightCycler Mycobacterium Detection, and Xpert MTB/RIF had sensitivities of 59%, 76%, 76%, and 86%, respectively. That is, assuming that liquid culture detected everyone with TB, Xpert MTB/RIF detected 86% of the cases. The specificity of all the tests compared to liquid culture was greater than 97%. That is, they all had a low false-positive rate. Among people who were HIV-positive, the sensitivity of Xpert MTB/RIF was 84%; the sensitivities of the other NAAT tests were 70%. Moreover, Xpert MTB/RIF detected TB in 61% of smear-negative, culture-positive samples, whereas the other NAATs detected TB in only about a quarter of these samples. Finally, although some TB cases were identified as drug-resistant by one test but drug-sensitive by another, the small number of drug-resistant cases means no firm conclusions can be made about the accuracy of drug resistance determination by the various tests.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although these findings are likely to be affected by the study's small size, they suggest that Xpert MTB/RIF may provide a more accurate rapid diagnosis of TB than smear microscopy and other currently available NAAT tests in regions where HIV and TB are endemic (i.e., always present). Indeed, the reported accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF for TB diagnosis—85% sensitivity and 97% specificity—has the potential to save more than 400,000 lives per year. Taken together with the results of other recent studies (including an accompanying article by Lawn et al. that investigates the use of Xpert MTB/RIF for screening for HIV-associated TB and rifampicin resistance), these findings support the WHO recommendation that Xpert MTB/RIF, rather than smear microscopy, should be the initial test in HIV-infected individuals who might have TB.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Carlton Evans; a related PLoS Medicine Research Article by Lawn et al. is also available
WHO provides information (in several languages) on all aspects of tuberculosis, including general information on tuberculosis diagnostics and specific information on the Xpert MTB/RIF test; further information about WHO's endorsement of Xpert MTB/RIF is included in a recent Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis report
WHO also provides information about tuberculosis and HIV
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has detailed information on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about tuberculosis, including information on the diagnosis of and on tuberculosis and HIV co-infection
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV-related tuberculosis (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3144192  PMID: 21814495
9.  Direct microscopy versus sputum cytology analysis and bleach sedimentation for diagnosis of tuberculosis: a prospective diagnostic study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:276.
Diagnostic options for pulmonary tuberculosis in resource-poor settings are commonly limited to smear microscopy. We investigated whether bleach concentration by sedimentation and sputum cytology analysis (SCA) increased the positivity rate of smear microscopy for smear-positive tuberculosis.
We did a prospective diagnostic study in a Médecins Sans Frontières-supported hospital in Mindouli, Republic of Congo. Three sputum samples were obtained from 280 consecutive pulmonary tuberculosis suspects, and were processed according to WHO guidelines for direct smear microscopy. The remainder of each sputum sample was homogenised with 2.6% bleach, sedimented overnight, smeared, and examined blinded to the direct smear result for acid-fast bacilli (AFB). All direct smears were assessed for quality by SCA. If a patient produced fewer than three good-quality sputum samples, further samples were requested. Sediment smear examination was performed independently of SCA result on the corresponding direct smear. Positivity rates were compared using McNemar's test.
Excluding SCA, 43.2% of all patients were diagnosed as positive on direct microscopy of up to three samples. 47.9% were diagnosed on sediment microscopy, with 48.2% being diagnosed on direct microscopy, sediment microscopy, or both. The positivity rate increased from 43.2% to 47.9% with a case definition of one positive smear (≥1 AFB/100 high power fields) of three, and from 42.1% to 43.9% with two positive smears. SCA resulted in 87.9% of patients producing at least two good-quality sputum samples, with 75.7% producing three or more. Using a case definition of one positive smear, the incremental yield of bleach sedimentation was 14/121, or 11.6% (95% CI 6.5-18.6, p = 0.001) and in combination with SCA was 15/121, or 12.4% (95% CI 7.1-19.6, p = 0.002). Incremental yields with two positive smears were 5/118, or 4.2% (95% CI 1.4-9.6, p = 0.062) and 7/118, or 5.9% (95% CI 2.4-11.8, p = 0.016), respectively.
The combination of bleach sedimentation and SCA resulted in significantly increased microscopy positivity rates with a case definition of either one or two positive smears. Implementation of bleach sedimentation led to a significant increase in the diagnosis of smear-positive patients. Implementation of SCA did not result in significantly increased diagnosis of tuberculosis, but did result in improved sample quality. Requesting extra sputum samples based on SCA results, combined with bleach sedimentation, could significantly increase the detection of smear-positive patients if routinely implemented in resource-limited settings where gold standard techniques are not available. We recommend that a pilot phase is undertaken before routine implementation to determine the impact in a particular context.
PMCID: PMC2946302  PMID: 20858253
10.  Culture Conversion Rate at 2 Months of Treatment According to Diagnostic Methods among Patients with Culture-Positive Pulmonary Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103768.
The culture-negative conversion rate of sputum after 2 months of treatment in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is used as a reliable surrogate marker for relapse after completion of treatment. We hypothesized that culture conversion of sputum at 2 months of anti-TB treatment and the time to culture conversion are different among pulmonary TB patients who are diagnosed using different methods.
Culture-confirmed pulmonary TB patients who were diagnosed between 1 January, 2011 and 31 December, 2012 were classified into three groups based on the diagnostic method that prompted treatment initiation: positive acid-fast bacilli (AFB) staining of sputum (smear-positive group), negative AFB staining, but Mycobacterium tuberculosis was cultured from sputum (culture-positive group), and positive AFB staining, positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for M. tuberculosis, or culture of M. tuberculosis from a bronchoscopic specimen (bronchoscopy group). Rates of negative mycobacterial culture conversion at 2 months of anti-TB treatment and the time to negative culture conversion of sputum were compared among the three groups.
A total of 203 patients with culture-confirmed pulmonary TB were included in the final analysis. TB patients in the culture-positive group (94.1%) and the bronchoscopy group (97.6%) showed a higher culture conversion rate at 2 months of treatment than those in the smear-positive group (78.7%, P = 0.001). Additionally, the time to culture conversion was longer in the smear-positive group (median, 40 days) than in the culture-positive (median, 19 days; P = 0.009) and bronchoscopy groups (median, 29 days; P = 0.004).
The higher culture conversion rate at 2 months and the shorter time to culture conversion among pulmonary TB patients with a negative AFB smear suggests the feasibility of shortening treatment duration and isolation in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4126681  PMID: 25105410
11.  Endobronchial tuberculosis: histopathological subsets and microbiological results 
Endobronchial tuberculosis (EBTB) is defined as a tuberculous infection of the tracheobronchial tree with microbial and histopathological evidence, with or without parenchymal involvement. Bronchoscopic appearances of EBTB have been divided into seven subtypes: actively caseating, edematous-hyperemic, fibrostenotic, tumorous, granular, ulcerative, and nonspecific bronchitic. However, information for establishing a definite microbiological diagnosis in each of these categories is lacking.
We aimed to present bronchoscopic appearances and percentages for the EBTB subtypes and to compare bronchoscopic appearances with microbiological positivity in bronchial lavage fluid.
From 2003 to 2009, 23 biopsy-proven EBTB patients were enrolled in the study. Diagnosis of EBTB was histopathologically confirmed in all patients.
The commonest subtype was the edematous-hyperemic type (34.7%); other subtypes in order of occurrence were: tumorous (21.7%), granular (17.3%), actively caseating (17.3%), fibrostenotic (4.3%), and nonspecific bronchitic (4.3%). Although all patients were sputum-smear-negative for acid-fast bacilli (AFB), 26% of patients were smear-positive for AFB in the bronchial lavage fluid. The bronchial lavage fluid grew Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 39.1% of all patients.
The bronchial lavage smear positivity for AFB in the bronchial lavage fluid was 75%, 25%, 20%, 12.5%, 0%, and 0% for the granular, actively caseating, tumorous, edematous-hyperemic, fibrostenotic, and nonspecific bronchitic subtypes of EBTB, respectively. Culture positivity for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in bronchial lavage fluid was 75%, 50%, 40%, 25%, 0%, and 0%, respectively.
The commonest subtype of EBTB was the edematous-hyperemic subtype. The granular type had the highest smear positivity and culture positivity for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in bronchial lavage fluid. Bronchoscopy should be performed in all patients suspected to have EBTB.
PMCID: PMC3488328  PMID: 23088170
Bronchoscopy; Endobronchial tuberculosis; Microbiology; Radiology
12.  LED Fluorescence Microscopy for the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis: A Multi-Country Cross-Sectional Evaluation 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(7):e1001057.
This study, nested within a clinical trial, by Luis Cuevas and colleagues finds that LED-FM microscopy has higher sensitivity but lower specificity than Zn microscopy for detecting tuberculosis in sputum samples.
The diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in resource-limited settings relies on Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) smear microscopy. LED fluorescence microscopy (LED-FM) has many potential advantages over ZN smear microscopy, but requires evaluation in the field. The aim of this study was to assess the sensitivity/specificity of LED-FM for the diagnosis of pulmonary TB and whether its performance varies with the timing of specimen collection.
Methods and Findings
Adults with cough ≥2 wk were enrolled consecutively in Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Yemen. Sputum specimens were examined by ZN smear microscopy and LED-FM and compared with culture as the reference standard. Specimens were collected using a spot-morning-spot (SMS) or spot-spot-morning (SSM) scheme to explore whether the collection of the first two smears at the health care facility (i.e., “on the spot”) the first day of consultation followed by a morning sample the next day (SSM) would identify similar numbers of smear-positive patients as smears collected via the SMS scheme (i.e., one on-the-spot-smear the first day, followed by a morning specimen collected at home and a second on-the-spot sample the second day). In total, 529 (21.6%) culture-positive and 1,826 (74.6%) culture-negative patients were enrolled, of which 1,156 (49%) submitted SSM specimens and 1,199 (51%) submitted SMS specimens. Single LED-FM smears had higher sensitivity but lower specificity than single ZN smears. Using two LED-FM or two ZN smears per patient was 72.8% (385/529, 95% CI 68.8%–76.5%) and 65.8% (348/529, 95% CI 61.6%–69.8%) sensitive (p<0.001) and 90.9% (1,660/1,826, 95% CI 89.5%–92.2%) and 98% (1,790/1,826, 95% CI 97.3%–98.6%) specific (p<0.001). Using three LED-FM or three ZN smears per patient was 77% (408/529, 95% CI 73.3%–80.6%) and 70.5% (373/529, 95% CI 66.4%–74.4%, p<0.001) sensitive and 88.1% (95% CI 86.5%–89.6%) and 96.5% (95% CI 96.8%–98.2%, p<0.001) specific. The sensitivity/specificity of ZN smear microscopy and LED-FM did not vary between SMS and SSM.
LED-FM had higher sensitivity but, in this study, lower specificity than ZN smear microscopy for diagnosis of pulmonary TB. Performance was independent of the scheme used for collecting specimens. The introduction of LED-FM needs to be accompanied by appropriate training, quality management, and monitoring of performance in the field.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN53339491
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Tuberculosis is a global public health problem. Every year, about 1.7 million people die from this contagious bacterial infection, and about 9 million new cases occur, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis, is spread in airborne droplets when people with the disease cough or sneeze, and usually infects the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis). Symptoms of tuberculosis include a persistent cough, weight loss, and night sweats. Because tuberculosis is easily transmitted and potentially deadly, it is important that it is diagnosed quickly and accurately and immediately treated. The “gold standard” diagnostic test for tuberculosis is mycobacterial culture (in liquid or solid medium), in which laboratory technicians try to grow M. tuberculosis from sputum (mucus brought up from the lungs by coughing). However, this test is expensive, so most patients suspected of having pulmonary tuberculosis in resource-limited countries are investigated using sputum smear microscopy. In this cheaper but less sensitive test, sputum samples are “smeared” onto microscope slides, stained with Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) dye, and then examined with a microscope for the presence of M. tuberculosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
With smear microscopy, multiple samples have to be examined to increase the test's sensitivity (the proportion of patients with culture-positive tuberculosis that the test detects). Because each smear examination takes up to 10 minutes, tuberculosis diagnosis with ZN smear microscopy creates a large laboratory workload. A variant form of smear microscopy—light-emitting-diode fluorescence microscopy (LED-FM)—could reduce this workload. With LED-FM, smears stained with a fluorescent dye can be examined in a quarter of the time it takes to examine ZN smears. In this study, the researchers evaluate the sensitivity and specificity (the proportion of people with a negative smear among people without tuberculosis; a high specificity indicates a low false-positive rate) of LED-FM using samples collected in a trial undertaken in four resource-limited countries (Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Yemen) to investigate two schemes for sputum sample collection. In the spot-morning-spot (SMS) scheme, patients provide an on-the-spot specimen at their initial consultation, a specimen collected at home the next morning, and a second on-the-spot sample when they deliver their morning specimen. In the spot-spot-morning (SSM) scheme, patients provide two on-the-spot samples during their first clinic visit and a sample collected at home the next morning.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the main trial, the researchers collected sputum samples using the SMS or SSM scheme from 6,627 patients with a cough lasting more than two weeks. For their investigation of LED-FM, they examined nearly 2,400 samples (half SSM and half SMS specimens, about a quarter of which were tuberculosis culture-positive) with both ZN smear microscopy and LED-FM and determined the sensitivity and specificity of both tests—with one, two, or three sputum samples per patient—relative to mycobacterial solid culture. Single LED-FM smears had higher sensitivity but lower specificity than single ZN smears. The sensitivities of two LED-FM and two ZN smears were 72.8% and 65.8%, respectively; the specificities of these tests were 90.9% and 98.0%. The sensitivities of three LED-FM and three ZN smears were 77% and 70.5%, respectively; the specificities of these tests were 88.1% and 96.5%. The sensitivity and specificity of both tests was similar for samples collected using the SMS and the SSM schemes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in the resource-limited countries included in this trial, LED-FM has a higher sensitivity but lower specificity than ZN smear microscopy. The researchers calculate that in this study the accuracy of three LED-FM examinations was 85% (2,017 out of 2,355 patients were correctly classified as infected or uninfected), whereas the accuracy of three ZN smears was 91.8%. Thus, although LED-FM should identify more people with tuberculosis than ZN smear microscopy, because of its lower specificity, its use might also lead to more people without tuberculosis being needlessly treated for the disease. Nevertheless, provided that the introduction of LED-FM is accompanied by appropriate training and performance monitoring, LED-FM is an attractive potential tool for the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis that, together with a move towards the collection of two on-the-spot smears in a single clinic visit, could ensure that poor patients have access to timely tuberculosis diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Details of the parent trial in which the samples used in this study were collected are available in a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Cuevas et al.
The World Health Organization provides information on all aspects of tuberculosis, including information on tuberculosis diagnostics; recent WHO policy statements on diagnosis of tuberculosis are available; the Stop TB Partnership provides information on global tuberculosis control (some information in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about tuberculosis, including information on the diagnosis of tuberculosis disease
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also has detailed information on all aspects of tuberculosis
MedlinePlus has links to further information about tuberculosis (in English and Spanish)
A new Web site dedicated to the discussion and optimization of smear microscopy has recently been launched
PMCID: PMC3134458  PMID: 21765809
13.  The role of induced sputum in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis 
Microbiological confirmation of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is of paramount importance in the era of immunocompromised host and emergence of multi-drug resistance.
To assess the value of sputum induction (SI) with hypertonic saline nebulization as a diagnostic tool in patients with suspected pulmonary TB who have no/inadequate sputum or have a sputum smear negative for acid fast bacillus (AFB).
Materials and Methods:
One hundred patients with clinical and radiological evidence of pulmonary TB with no/inadequate sputum or smear negative with spontaneous sputum were studied. Sputum was induced with 20 mL of 3% hypertonic saline solution delivered through ultrasonic nebulizer. The specimens were subjected to Ziehl Neelsen staining and were examined under oil immersion lens for the presence of AFB. The specimens were also subjected to mycobacterial culture in BACTEC 460 TB system.
Ninety five patients could produce adequate sputum after SI. Sputum from thirty two patients were found to be positive both in smear and culture while sputum from another three patients were smear negative, but culture positive.
SI is a safe, cheap and non-invasive procedure and provides significant yield in the diagnosis of pulmonary TB; thus, increasing the case detection rate of smear positive pulmonary TB.
PMCID: PMC3775199  PMID: 24049254
Induced sputum; pulmonary tuberculosis; sputum smear negative
14.  Commercial Serological Antibody Detection Tests for the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(6):e202.
The global tuberculosis epidemic results in nearly 2 million deaths and 9 million new cases of the disease a year. The vast majority of tuberculosis patients live in developing countries, where the diagnosis of tuberculosis relies on the identification of acid-fast bacilli on unprocessed sputum smears using conventional light microscopy. Microscopy has high specificity in tuberculosis-endemic countries, but modest sensitivity which varies among laboratories (range 20% to 80%). Moreover, the sensitivity is poor for paucibacillary disease (e.g., pediatric and HIV-associated tuberculosis). Thus, the development of rapid and accurate new diagnostic tools is imperative. Immune-based tests are potentially suitable for use in low-income countries as some test formats can be performed at the point of care without laboratory equipment. Currently, dozens of distinct commercial antibody detection tests are sold in developing countries. The question is “do they work?”
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to assess the accuracy of commercial antibody detection tests for the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis. Studies from all countries using culture and/or microscopy smear for confirmation of pulmonary tuberculosis were eligible. Studies with fewer than 50 participants (25 patients and 25 control participants) were excluded. In a comprehensive search, we identified 68 studies. The results demonstrate that (1) overall, commercial tests vary widely in performance; (2) sensitivity is higher in smear-positive than smear-negative samples; (3) in studies of smear-positive patients, Anda-TB IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay shows limited sensitivity (range 63% to 85%) and inconsistent specificity (range 73% to 100%); (4) specificity is higher in healthy volunteers than in patients in whom tuberculosis disease is initially suspected and subsequently ruled out; and (5) there are insufficient data to determine the accuracy of most commercial tests in smear microscopy–negative patients, as well as their performance in children or persons with HIV infection.
None of the commercial tests evaluated perform well enough to replace sputum smear microscopy. Thus, these tests have little or no role in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis. Lack of methodological rigor in these studies was identified as a concern. It will be important to review the basic science literature evaluating serological tests for the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis to determine whether useful antigens have been described but their potential has not been fully exploited. Activities leading to the discovery of new antigens with immunodiagnostic potential need to be intensified.
Based on a systematic review, Madhukar Pai and colleagues conclude that none of the commercial immune-based tests for pulmonary tuberculosis so far evaluated perform well enough to replace sputum smear microscopy.
Editors' Summary
Tuberculosis (TB) is, globally, one of the most important infectious diseases. It is thought that in 2005 around 1.6 million people died as a result of TB. Controlling TB requires that the disease is correctly diagnosed so that it can then be promptly treated, which will reduce the risk of infection being passed on to other individuals. The method normally used for diagnosing TB disease in poor countries (where most people with TB disease live) involves taking a sample of mucus coughed up from the lungs; this mucus is then spread thinly onto a glass slide, dyed, and viewed under the microscope. The bacteria responsible for TB take up the dye in a particular pattern and can be clearly seen under the microscope. Although this test (sputum smear) is relatively straightforward to carry out even where facilities are basic, it is not particularly good at identifying TB disease in children or amongst individuals who are HIV-positive. Finally, the sputum smear test is also not very sensitive; that is, many people who have TB disease may not give a positive reading. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop and evaluate new tests that are suitable for use in poor countries, which will accurately diagnose TB disease, especially amongst children and people who are HIV-positive.
Why Was This Study Done?
New tests for TB have become available which detect whether an individual has raised antibodies against particular proteins and other substances present on the surface of the TB bacterium. These tests are carried out on blood samples, once blood cells and other factors have been taken out. These antibody tests are often quite simple to carry out, so in principle they could be suitable for use in developing countries. Since the tests are available on the market and can be freely used in some developing countries without any need for government regulatory bodies to approve them, it is important to know how good these tests are at diagnosing TB disease. The researchers here wanted, therefore, to evaluate all of the available data relating to the accuracy of antibody detection tests for diagnosis of TB disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In order to evaluate all of the information available on commercial antibody detection tests for diagnosis of TB disease of the lungs, the researchers carried out a systematic review. First, they searched biomedical literature databases using specific terms to identify studies for inclusion. A study was included in their analysis if the commercial test was compared against one of two other standard tests (sputum smear microscopy, or growth of TB bacteria in culture). One researcher from the team then pulled out specific pieces of information from each published study: these included the type of study design; information on study participants; the type of test; what the test was compared against; and finally the results of evaluation of the test. A second researcher pulled out pieces of information from several of the same studies. The researchers then compared the information to ensure that it was recorded correctly. Each study was also assigned a quality rating, based on four distinct criteria. For each type of test, the researchers used the data in the published studies to work out the test's accuracy, both in terms of its ability to give a positive reading for people who have TB disease as well as its ability to give a negative reading for people who do not have TB disease.
The researchers found 27 papers meeting their criteria. These papers reported the results of 68 original studies. Nine different commercial tests were examined in the studies. Overall, the studies seemed to be of relatively poor quality, with only 25% of them meeting all four of the researchers' criteria for a good-quality study. The different studies appeared to produce varying results for the accuracy of these commercial tests. In particular, the tests seemed to be less accurate at detecting TB disease amongst people who had a negative sputum smear than amongst people with a positive sputum smear. When all the data for these different studies were combined, the statistics indicated that the commercial tests, overall, were only modestly accurate for diagnosis of TB disease. None of the studies had been carried out in children or in HIV-positive people.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results of this systematic review suggest that the commercial antibody detection tests considered here are not particularly useful in diagnosis of TB disease as compared to other tests, such as sputum smear and bacterial culture. Some people are concerned that there is pressure in certain developing countries to start using these tests, but the current data do not support greater use. This systematic review also highlights the fact that many studies evaluating commercial TB tests are of poor quality, and that further research needs to be done to evaluate the accuracy of different TB tests amongst children and HIV-positive patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
World Health Organization Stop TB Department website. Information about the current Stop TB strategy, data and factsheets about TB, and other resources are available
Questions and Answers about Tuberculosis provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Information about TB tests from Médicins sans Frontières (MSF). Links to MSF reports on new diagnostic tests are also available
Wikipedia entry on Systematic Reviews (Note: Wikipedia is an internet encyclopedia anyone can edit)
PMCID: PMC1891320  PMID: 17564490
15.  Atypical presentations of pulmonary tuberculosis diagnosed by fibreoptic bronchoscopy. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1993;69(814):621-623.
A total of 356 patients were subjected to fibreoptic bronchoscopy from September 1989 to June 1991 to exclude bronchial carcinoma. Bronchial biopsy, bronchial brush smears and bronchial wash were obtained. Bronchial wash was examined for acid fast bacilli (AFB) compatible with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The total number diagnosed as pulmonary tuberculosis by fibreoptic bronchoscopy was 21(5.8%). The sputum smears were negative for AFB in all these patients. Previous studies have shown the importance of fibreoptic bronchoscopy in suspected cases of tuberculosis where the sputum smear is negative. This study is further evidence of the importance of routine examination of bronchial wash for AFB in all cases undergoing fibreoptic bronchoscopy to detect atypical cases of pulmonary tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC2399695  PMID: 8234105
16.  Clinical Utility of CT-Based Bronchial Aspirate TB-PCR for the Rapid Diagnosis of Pleural Tuberculosis 
Thoracoscopic pleural biopsy is often required for rapid and confirmative diagnosis in patients with suspected pleural tuberculosis (PL-TB). However, this method is more invasive and costly than its alternatives. Therefore, we evaluated the clinical utility of the chest computed tomography (CT)-based bronchial aspirate (BA) TB-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in such patients.
Bronchoscopic evaluation was performed in 54 patients with presumptive PL-TB through diagnostic thoracentesis but without a positive result of sputum acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear, pleural fluid AFB smear, or pleural fluid TB-PCR test. Diagnostic yields of BA were evaluated according to the characteristics of parenchymal lesions on chest CT.
Chest radiograph and CT revealed parenchymal lesions in 25 (46%) and 40 (74%) of 54 patients, respectively. In cases with an absence of parenchymal lesions on chest CT, the bronchoscopic approach had no diagnostic benefit. BA TB-PCR test was positive in 21 out of 22 (95%) patients with early-positive results. Among BA results from 20 (37%) patients with patchy consolidative CT findings, eight (40%) were AFB smear-positive, 18 (90%) were TB-PCR-positive, and 19 (95%) were culture-positive.
The BA TB-PCR test seems to be a satisfactory diagnostic modality in patients with suspected PL-TB and patchy consolidative CT findings. For rapid and confirmative diagnosis in these patients, the bronchoscopic approach with TB-PCR may be preferable to the thoracoscopy.
PMCID: PMC3833935  PMID: 24265643
Tuberculosis, Pleural; Bronchoscopy; Polymerase Chain Reaction; Thoracoscopy
17.  Smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis and AFB examination practices according to the standard checklist of WHO’s tuberculosis laboratory assessment tool in three governmental hospitals, Eastern Ethiopia 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:295.
Using the Directly Observed Treatment-Short course (DOTS) program the World Health Organization’s global target was to detect 70% of new sputum-smear positive PTB cases. Smear positive PTB cases are more infectious than the smear negative cases. The TB case detection rate remains very low in Ethiopia, but there are increases in smear-negative PTB diagnosis which could be attributed to several factors including poor quality of sputum smear-microscopy.
A five years retrospective record review of data between September, 2007 and August, 2012 and an in-depth assessment of AFB staining practices of sputum smear using a standard checklist were made. The proportion of smear positive cases relative to overall Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) screened was determined over a five year period to indicate the overall prevalence and the trend. Odds ratio with 95 percent confidence interval was calculated for categorical variables using multivariate Logistic Regression model to assess the strength of association.
A total of 1266 individuals’ data were reviewed. The majority of the study participants were male, 704 (55.6%), and rural residents, 690 (54.5%). The overall prevalence rate of smear positive PTB was 21.6%. Age categories between 15–24 and 25–34 years were independent predictors of smear positive PTB with adjusted odds ratio of 2.246 [95% CI (1.098-4.597)] and 2.267 [95% CI (1.107-4.642)], respectively. More males were affected by PTB than females with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.426 [95% CI (1.083-1.879)]. An in-depth interview with the respective laboratory chiefs showed that quality control measures for sputum smear microscopy were used at different levels of the testing activities; however, equipment function verification as a quality control measure was not accomplished regularly in all of the study hospital laboratories.
The smear positive PTB case detection rate indicated in this study is significantly lower than the countries which met the 70% target of the World Health Organization. Lack of feedback mechanisms in the External Quality Assurance schemes of sputum smear microscopy render the opportunity for improvement difficult; Serial sputum examination showed a considerable rate of positivity in the second sputum sample when compared with the others.
PMCID: PMC4024114  PMID: 24885987
Smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis; AFB staining practices; Eastern Ethiopia
18.  Bronchoalveolar Lavage Enzyme-linked Immunospot for a Rapid Diagnosis of Tuberculosis 
Rationale: The rapid diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is difficult when acid fast bacilli (AFB) cannot be detected in sputum smears.
Objectives: Following a proof of principle study, we examined in routine clinical practice whether individuals with sputum AFB smear-negative TB can be discriminated from those with latent TB infection by local immunodiagnosis with a Mycobacterium tuberculosis–specific enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay.
Methods: Subjects suspected of having active TB who were unable to produce sputum or with AFB-negative sputum smears were prospectively enrolled at Tuberculosis Network European Trialsgroup centers in Europe. ELISpot with early-secretory-antigenic-target–6 and culture-filtrate-protein–10 peptides was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and bronchoalveolar lavage mononuclear cells (BALMCs). M. tuberculosis–specific nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) was performed on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
Measurements and Main Results: Seventy-one of 347 (20.4%) patients had active TB. Out of 276 patients who had an alternative diagnosis, 127 (46.0%) were considered to be latently infected with M. tuberculosis by a positive PBMC ELISpot result. The sensitivity and specificity of BALMC ELISpot for the diagnosis of active pulmonary TB were 91 and 80%, respectively. The BALMC ELISpot (diagnostic odds ratio [OR], 40.4) was superior to PBMC ELISpot (OR, 10.0), tuberculin skin test (OR, 7.8), and M. tuberculosis specific NAAT (OR, 12.4) to diagnose sputum AFB smear-negative TB. In contrast to PBMC ELISpot and tuberculin skin test, the BALMC ELISpot was not influenced by previous history of TB.
Conclusions: Bronchoalveolar lavage ELISpot is an important advancement to rapidly distinguish sputum AFB smear-negative TB from latent TB infection in routine clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC2753791  PMID: 19590020
19.  Ultrasound guided aspiration biopsy for pulmonary tuberculosis with unusual radiographic appearances. 
Thorax  1993;48(2):167-170.
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary tuberculosis can produce unusual radiographic appearances and negative results of sputum and bronchoscopic examinations are common. This study assessed the value of ultrasound guided aspiration biopsy in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis with unusual radiographic appearances. METHODS: Thirteen patients, ultimately diagnosed as having tuberculosis, underwent a chest ultrasonographic examination between June 1984 and August 1991. All had sputum available for examination and nine were also examined by bronchoscopy. Ten patients who had a negative sputum smear and negative bronchoscopic brushing smears underwent ultrasound guided aspiration or biopsy. Percutaneous aspiration was performed with a 22 gauge needle. If the smear did not reveal acid fast bacilli, a biopsy sample was taken with a 16 gauge Tru-cut needle to obtain a histological diagnosis. RESULTS: The ultrasonographic examination delineated the more complex nature of the lesions better than the chest radiograph. Ultrasound guided aspiration biopsy provided the diagnosis in nine of 10 patients, while the sputum smear and culture provided diagnosis in five of 13, and bronchoscopy in four of nine. In terms of rapid diagnosis, ultrasound guided aspiration biopsy gave the diagnosis in eight of 10 cases. No patient developed a major complication. CONCLUSION: Ultrasonography can direct the needle to the most suitable part of a lesion to obtain the relevant specimens. The diagnostic yield is high and the procedure is relatively safe. It is especially helpful in patients with negative results of sputum and bronchoscopic examinations.
PMCID: PMC464298  PMID: 8493633
20.  Clinical significance of normal chest radiographs among HIV-seropositive patients with suspected tuberculosis in Uganda 
Respirology (Carlton, Vic.)  2011;16(5):836-841.
Background and objectives
The frequency, aetiologies, and outcomes of normal chest radiographs (CXRs) among HIV-seropositive patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) have been infrequently described.
Consecutive HIV-seropositive adults hospitalized for cough of ≥ 2 weeks duration at Mulago Hospital (Kampala, Uganda), between September 2007 and July 2008, were enrolled. Baseline CXRs were obtained on admission. Patients with sputum smears that were negative for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) were referred for bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). BAL fluid was examined for mycobacteria, Pneumocystis jirovecii, and other fungi. Patients were followed for two months after enrolment.
Of the 334 patients, 54 (16%) had normal CXRs. These patients were younger (median age 30 vs. 34 years, P=0.002), had lower counts of CD4+ T lymphocytes (median 13 vs. 57 cells/μL, P<0.001), and were less likely to be smear positive for AFB (17% vs. 39%, P=0.002) than those with abnormal CXRs. Pulmonary TB was the most frequent diagnosis (44%) among those with normal CXRs, followed by unknown diagnoses, pulmonary aspergillosis, and pulmonary cryptococcosis. The frequency of normal CXRs was 12% among pulmonary TB patients. There was a trend towards increased two-month mortality among patients with normal CXRs compared to those with abnormal CXRs (40% vs. 29%, P=0.15).
Normal CXR findings were common among HIV-seropositive patients with suspected TB, especially those who were young, those with low CD4+ T cell counts, and those with sputum smears that were negative for AFB. Mortality was high among those with normal CXRs. Normal CXR findings should not preclude further diagnostic evaluation in this population.
PMCID: PMC3126910  PMID: 21518124
clinical epidemiology; critical care medicine; immunodeficiency; radiology and other imaging; tuberculosis
21.  Clinical Evaluation of the Enhanced Gen-Probe Amplified Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Direct Test for Rapid Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Prison Inmates† 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(5):1419-1425.
The reliability of the enhanced Amplified Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Direct Test (E-MTD; Gen-Probe, Inc., San Diego, Calif.) for rapid diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) was evaluated by testing 1,004 respiratory specimens from 489 Texas prison inmates. Results were compared to those of mycobacterial culture (BACTEC TB 460 and Middlebrook 7H11 biplates), smear for acid-fast bacilli (AFB; auramine O), and clinical course. After chart review, three patients (nine specimens) who were on antituberculosis therapy before the study began were excluded from final analysis. Of the remaining 995 specimens, 21 were AFB smear positive: 13 grew Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), 6 grew nontuberculous mycobacteria, and 2 (from two patients diagnosed with TB and started on therapy after the study began) were culture negative. Twenty-eight specimens (20 patients) were positive for MTBC by culture and E-MTD. Seven specimens (seven patients) were positive by culture alone; three were from patients who had other E-MTD-positive specimens, two were false-positive cultures, and two were false-negative E-MTD results. Eight specimens were positive by E-MTD only; four specimens (four patients) were false-positive E-MTD results, and four specimens were from two patients with earlier E-MTD-positive specimens that grew MTBC. Thus, there were 22 patients with TB (10 smear positive and 12 smear negative). The sensitivity and specificity of the AFB smear for diagnosis of TB, by patient, were 45.5 and 98.9%, respectively. After resolving discrepancies, these same values for E-MTD were 90.9 and 99.1% overall, 100 and 100% for the smear-positive patients, and 83.3 and 99.1% for the smear-negative patients. Excluding the one smear-negative patient whose E-MTD-negative, MTBC culture-positive specimen contained inhibitory substances, the sensitivity of E-MTD was 95.2% overall and 90.9% in smear-negative patients. The specificity and positive predictive value of E-MTD can be improved, without altering other performance characteristics, by modifying the equivocal zone recommended by the manufacturer. These data suggest that E-MTD is a reliable method for rapid diagnosis of pulmonary TB, irrespective of the AFB smear result. Guidelines for the most appropriate use of E-MTD with smear-negative patients are needed.
PMCID: PMC84791  PMID: 10203498
22.  Initial experience with GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay in the Arkansas Tuberculosis Control Program 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2014;7(5):203-207.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains one of the most significant causes of death from an infectious agent. Rapid and accurate diagnosis of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is still a great challenge. The GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay is a novel integrated diagnostic system for the diagnosis of tuberculosis and rapid detection of Rifampin (RIF) resistance in clinical specimens. In 2012, the Arkansas Tuberculosis Control Program introduced GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay to replace the labour-intensive Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Direct (MTD) assay.
To rapidly diagnose TB within two hours and to simultaneously detect RIF resistance.
Describe the procedure used to introduce GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay in the Arkansas Tuberculosis Control Program.
Characterise the current gap in rapid M. tuberculosis diagnosis in Arkansas.
Assess factors that predict acid fast bacilli (AFB) smearnegative but culture-positive cases in Arkansas.
Illustrate, with two case reports, the role of GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay in reduction of time to confirmation of M. tuberculosis diagnosis in the first year of implementation.
Between June 2012 and June 2013, all AFB sputum smearpositive cases and any others, on request by the physician, had GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay performed as well as traditional M. tuberculosis culture and susceptibilities using Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) 960 and Löwenstein-Jensen (LJ) slants. Surveillance data for January 2009–June 2013 was analysed to characterise sputum smear-negative but culture-positive cases.
Seventy-one TB cases were reported from June 2012– June 2013. GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay identified all culture-positive cases as well as three cases that were negative on culture. Also, this rapid assay identified all six smear-negative but M. tuberculosis culture-positive cases; two of these cases are described as case reports.
GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay has made rapid TB diagnosis possible, with tremendous potential in determining isolation of TB suspects on one hand, and quickly ruling out TB whenever suspected.
PMCID: PMC4052441  PMID: 24944716
Tuberculosis; GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay; AFB
23.  A retrospective review of a tertiary Hospital’s isolation and de-isolation policy for suspected pulmonary tuberculosis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):547.
Effective protocols for the isolation and de-isolation of patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) are essential determinants of health-care costs. Early de-isolation needs to be balanced with the need to prevent nosocomial transmission of PTB. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficiency of our hospital’s current protocol for isolating and de-isolating patients with suspected PTB, in particular assessing the timeliness to de-isolation of patients with AFB smear negative respiratory samples.
We retrospectively reviewed 121 patients with suspected PTB who were admitted to our hospital’s isolation ward. We analyzed the time spent in isolation, the total number of respiratory samples that were collected for each patient and the time taken from collection of the first respiratory sample to release of the result of third respiratory sample for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear. We also calculated the direct cost of isolation for each patient.
The mean and median number of AFB smears for each patient was three. Thirty percent of patients had four or more AFB smears taken and 20% were de-isolated before the results of three negative AFB smears were obtained. The mean duration of isolation was significantly shorter in patients who had fewer than three negative AFB smears compared to those who had three or more negative AFB smears (three days vs. five days, p <0.01). The mean cost in patients who were de-isolated before three negative smears were obtained was USD 947 compared to USD 1,636 in those were only de-isolated after three negative AFB smears (p <0.01).
Our study suggests that our institution’s current infection control policy for the isolation of patients with suspected PTB is fairly satisfactory, but may need to be tightened further to prevent true cases of PTB being de-isolated prematurely. However, there may be instances when patients could potentially be de-isolated more quickly without risk to others, thus saving on the use of limited resources and costs to patients.
PMCID: PMC4197325  PMID: 25311929
Tuberculosis; AFB smear; Isolation
24.  Investigation of endobronchial tuberculosis diagnoses in 22 cases 
Endobronchial tuberculosis (EBTB) is a special form of pulmonary tuberculosis. In spite of much progress in the diagnosis of this disease in past years, delayed or mistaken diagnosis is still commonly seen.
The aim of this study is to try to find out some useful clues for the diagnosis of EBTB, especially the early diagnosis.
The medical records of patients with EBTB were analyzed retrospectively. Results: The male-to-female ratio was 1:2.2 out of 22 patients. Patients aged below 60-years-old constituted 72.7% of the cases. 22.7% of these patients were smokers. The male-to-female ratio of smokers was 4:1. 68.2% of these patients tested all showed negative result for the HIV test. The frequent complaints were cough, sputum, shortness of breath and fever, and antibiotic treatments were usually inefficacious. Multiple lobes lesion, exudative shadow and atelectasis were the frequent radiological findings. Acid-fast bacilli staining for sputum smear was positive in only 13.6% of these patients. Tuberculin skin test was positive in 59.1% of these patients. Granular lesion was the most common bronchoscopic appearance in these patients. Histological changes showed distinctive tuberculose lesion in 72.2% of 18 patients undergoing bronchoscopic biopsy.
The diagnosis of EBTB is easily delayed or mistaken because of nonspecific clinical manifestations and the low incidence of positive acid-fast bacilli staining. A high index of awareness of this disease is required for diagnosis. Bronchoscopy should be performed as soon as possible in suspected patients, especially when patients present positive tuberculin skin test or no response to antibiotic treatments.
PMCID: PMC3351956  PMID: 20696643
endobronchial tuberculosis; diagnosis
25.  Induced sputum for the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis: Is it useful in clinical practice? 
Diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) is challenging in patients who are unable to spontaneously expectorate. Published evidence suggests that induced sputum (IS) is the least invasive and most cost-effective method of diagnosis, and should be used before fibre-optic bronchoscopy (FOB).
The medical records of 337 adults treated for PTB in northern Alberta between 1997 and 2007 were reviewed to determine whether local practice patterns reflect the evidence. Microbiological data were collected from the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health. Demographic information was collected from the patients’ charts.
A total of 8.5% (26 of 307) of PTB patients had IS collected, whereas 35.8% (110 of 307) underwent FOB. Among FOB patients, 56.4% (62 of 110) had no sputum sent before the procedure and 29% (18 of 62) of these patients were smear positive. Only five patients referred for FOB had IS sent previously. There were no demographic factors predictive of IS use, whereas being an inpatient at a teaching facility or having a nodule or mass on chest x-ray was predictive of FOB referral. Because so few IS samples were available, not all patients had spontaneously expectorated sputum, IS and FOB tests performed; thus, the calculated yields were not comparable with one another.
Despite published evidence recommending IS collection before FOB referral in suspected PTB patients, clinicians in our health region appeared to prefer early FOB over IS by a large margin. This practice pattern is less cost effective and exposes patients and health care workers to greater risk. Further research is needed to identify the reasons for the underuse of sputum induction.
PMCID: PMC2933776  PMID: 20808978
Bronchoscopy; Diagnosis; Induced sputum; Tuberculosis

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