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Free Content Factors associated with a clinician's decision to stop anti-tuberculosis treatment before completion

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OBJECTIVES: To investigate the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and factors associated with a clinician's decision to stop anti-tuberculosis treatment before completion.

DESIGN: The medical charts of all citizens of Taipei City, Taiwan, reported to have received treatment for PTB in 2003 were investigated.

RESULTS: Of 1126 PTB patients, 512 (45.5%) started treatment immediately based solely on chest X-ray (CXR) findings; treatment for 214 (19.0%) was based on a positive sputum smear for acid-fast bacilli, for 261 (23.2%) it was based on other findings and for 139 (12.3%) it was based on a positive mycobacterial culture. Of the 1126 PTB patients, 156 (13.9%) had their diagnosis of TB changed by a clinician. Multivariate analysis shows that patients whose diagnosis was based on CXR or other findings, female patients, patients who interrupted treatment for 2 months, patients who continued care at other health facilities (transfer) and patients with lung cancer were significantly more likely to have their diagnosis changed than other groups.

CONCLUSION: A substantial proportion of patients were prescribed anti-tuberculosis treatment based on CXR findings alone, and a considerable proportion were advised to stop treatment before completing a full course, findings that require the immediate attention of Taiwan's National Tuberculosis Programme.
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Keywords: Taiwan; diagnosis; treatment; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 2: Taipei Medical University–Municipal Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan 3: National Tuberculosis Association, Taipei, Taiwan 4: Center for Disease Control, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 2008-04-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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