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Free Content Comparison of two techniques of sputum induction in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis

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SETTING: Specialised tuberculosis out-patient clinic covering a population of 350885.

OBJECTIVES: To compare two techniques, ultrasonic nebuliser (UN) and Venturi-type face mask nebuliser (VFMN), for obtaining sputum in patients suspected of having active pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and who cannot expectorate, and to analyse the usefulness and cost of sputum induction with UN in a specialised medical practice.

DESIGN: Prospective study from October 1997 until March 2000.

RESULTS: Of 94 subjects who completed all tests, at least one sample of sputum was obtained from 89 (95.6%). UN provided adequate samples in 86 (93.4%) and VFMN in 66 (71%), a significant difference (P < 0.001). Among 43 patients diagnosed with active PTB, the diagnosis was confirmed in 39 with the samples obtained by sputum induction. Direct acid-fast bacilli smear was positive in 8 (19%). Direct costs were low and the technique can be performed on the day the patient attends the out-patient clinic.

CONCLUSION: Sputum induction with an ultrasonic nebuliser was well-tolerated, of low cost, allows adequate samples to be obtained in the majority of patients who cannot produce sputum, and was more effective than the Venturi-type face mask.

Keywords: Venturi-type face mask nebuliser; pulmonary tuberculosis; sputum induction; tuberculosis; ultrasonic nebuliser

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pneumology, Orense-Cristal Piñor Hospital, Orense, Spain 2: Microbiology Service, Orense-Cristal Piñor Hospital, Orense, Spain 3: Investigation Unit, Orense-Cristal Piñor Hospital, Orense, Spain

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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