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Free Content Tuberculosis treatment in Denmark: treatment outcome for all Danish patients in 1992

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SETTING: Denmark.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate tuberculosis (TB) treatment outcome using treatment indicators recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD).

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort analysis of all TB patients notified in 1992 (n = 350). TB related information was registered and analyzed using hospital case records and laboratory data from Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen.

RESULTS: Among the 350 TB patients, cure rate was 25.7%, treatment completion rate 36.0%, death rate 12.9%, failure rate 0.9%, defaulter rate 3.1% and transfer out rate 2.3%. The remaining 19.1% ‘other cases’ did not fulfil any of the WHO indicators, but could be included in the treatment completion rate. During the 4-year follow-up period, 3% of all patients relapsed and 15% died.

CONCLUSION: The aim set by the WHO of a cure rate of at least 95% was not achieved. The two main reasons were 1) the fact that sputum samples were not taken late during treatment, and 2) the death rate. In the future sputum examination for M. tuberculosis late during treatment will be encouraged to obtain evidence of cure, but only if the patient can produce sputum, as examination of saliva is of no interest. Death from causes other than TB accounted for 8.3%, making it impossible to attain the desired cure rate in Denmark, and possibly also in other industrialized countries with many elderly TB patients. Additional information on risk factors and methodological issues in performing a TB cohort analysis in a low incidence country is presented.
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Keywords: Denmark; cohort analyses; risk factors; treatment outcome; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Rigshospitalet University Hospital, Clinic of Pulmonary Medicine 7721, RHIMA Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark 2: Statens Serum Institut, Epidemiological Department, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: 01 July 1999

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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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