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Free Content The impact of previous tuberculosis history on T-SPOT.TB® interferon-gamma release assay results

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SETTING: Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, a tertiary referral hospital in Korea.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether previous tuberculosis (TB) history has a long-term effect on T-SPOT.TB® results after anti-tuberculosis treatment.

DESIGN: We retrospectively reviewed 489 adults (age ≥18 years) who underwent T-SPOT.TB as part of their evaluation between January 2008 and July 2009.

RESULTS: Among 489 subjects analysed, 369 were finally included. Active TB was diagnosed in 121/369 (32.8%). T-SPOT.TB was positive in 110 (90.9%) active TB patients. Of the 248 subjects without active TB, T-SPOT.TB positivity was significantly different between the 51 patients with a previous TB history and the 197 without (84.3% vs. 26.9%, P < 0.001). The difference in T-SPOT.TB positivity between the 51 non-active TB patients with a TB history and the 121 active TB patients was not statistically significant (84.3% vs. 90.9%, P = 0.208). Among the 51 non-active TB individuals with a TB history, the mean time since anti-tuberculosis treatment was 22.7 years (range 1–59); this had no correlation with total region of difference 1 (RD1) spot-forming cells (r = −0.076, P = 0.597).

CONCLUSION: T-SPOT.TB has a limited role in the diagnosis of TB infection in individuals with a previous history of TB.

Keywords: IGRA; T-SPOT.TB; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Lung Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea 2: Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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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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