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Free Content The effect of smoking on tuberculosis: different patterns and poorer outcomes

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SETTING: It has been well documented that smoking increases the risk of tuberculosis (TB). However, few studies have evaluated the impact of smoking on TB. We conducted this retrospective study to evaluate the influences of smoking on the manifestation and outcome of TB.

DESIGN: All culture-confirmed TB patients from July 2002 to December 2003 were identified and their medical records reviewed.

RESULTS: A total of 523 TB patients, including 207 (39.6%) who had ever smoked, were studied. The ever-smokers were significantly older, more likely to have underlying diseases and a duration of symptoms >60 days, and less likely to have extra-pulmonary involvement and have completed treatment (64.7% vs. 78.5%). Radiographically, more ever-smokers with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) presented with miliary lesions, multiple nodules or masses, upper lung predominance and cavitation than never-smokers. Although smoking was associated with poor prognosis on univariate survival analysis, multivariate analysis revealed that independent poor prognostic factors included age, underlying disease, symptom duration ≤60 days, extra-pulmonary involvement, serum albumin level < 3.5 g/dl and delayed treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that smoking is significantly associated with radiographic manifestations of PTB, but not with death among PTB patients.
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Keywords: manifestation; nicotine; prognosis; smoking; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 01 February 2007

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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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