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Free Content Non-tuberculous mycobacterial pleurisy: an 8-year single-centre experience in Taiwan

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with pleurisy due to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), which are currently unclear.

DESIGN: From 2000 to 2007, patients with NTM and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated from pleural effusion (PE) samples were identified and compared.

RESULTS: Thirty-five NTM patients and 140 tuberculosis (TB) patients were reviewed. Patients with NTM pleurisy were less likely to have lung involvement and receive anti-mycobacterial treatment compared with those with tuberculous pleurisy. NTM pleurisy had a higher PE leukocyte count and a lower percentage of lymphocytes. M. avium complex (MAC) was the most common pathogen in NTM pleurisy. Patients with MAC pleurisy were younger and tended to have more extra-pleural involvement and immune dysfunction. One-year mortality in the NTM pleurisy group was 37%, and anti-NTM treatment was associated with better survival. Patients with additional diagnostic evidence were more likely to receive anti-NTM treatment.

CONCLUSION: NTM pleurisy is common and has a high 1-year mortality rate. Anti-NTM treatment may provide better 1-year survival and should be considered once NTM pleurisy is diagnosed.
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Keywords: Taiwan; non-tuberculous mycobacteria; pleurisy; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Traumatology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan 3: Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan 4: Department of Nursing, National Taiwan University Hospital, Yun-Lin Branch, Yun-Lin County, Taiwan

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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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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