High early death rate in tuberculosis patients in Malawi
OBJECTIVES: In patients registered with all types of tuberculosis (TB) in 1997 to determine 1) treatment outcomes, and 2) when in the course of anti-tuberculosis treatment TB deaths occurred.
DESIGN: A retrospective study using information from TB registers, health centre registers, TB treatment cards and TB ward admission books.
RESULTS: A total of 16004 patients were registered with all types of TB, 6471 with smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), 5305 with smear-negative PTB and 4228 with extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB). Of patients with all types of TB, 3720 (23%) died: death rates were 22% in smear-positive PTB, 26% in smear-negative PTB and 22% in EPTB. Month of death was known in 3371 patients (91% of those who died) and day of death in 3326 patients (89% of those who died). In patients who died, 19% of deaths occurred by day 7 and 41% by the end of the first month of treatment. A higher proportion of early deaths occurred in patients with smear-negative PTB and EPTB and in relation to increasing age.
CONCLUSIONS: There was a high overall death rate in TB patients registered in 1997, with 40% of deaths occurring in the first month of treatment. Strategies to combat this problem are needed.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Community Health Science Unit, Lilongwe, Malawi 2: National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Community Health Science Unit, Lilongwe, Malawi; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK
Publication date: 2001-11-01
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