Free Content Sputum microscopy results at two and three months predict outcome of tuberculosis treatment [Notes from the Field]

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the importance of monitoring sputum conversion as an early treatment indicator of treatment success.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of sputum conversion in a cohort of ‘cured’ tuberculosis patients.

RESULTS: Of 65 (95%) patients whose sputum converted in the third month of treatment, 62 were cured; only 21 of 35 (60%) patients whose sputum was still positive at the end of three months of treatment were ultimately cured.

CONCLUSION: Sputum conversion during the third month of treatment is an important predictor of treatment success; failure to convert predicts treatment failure.

Keywords: China; diagnosis; sputum; treatment outcome; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Tuberculosis Control Project Office, Ministry of Health, Beijing, China 2: formerly Global Tuberculosis Programme, Geneva, Switzerland 3: Liaoning Province, China

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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