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Free Content Influence of previous tuberculosis treatment history on acid-fast bacilli smear and culture conversion

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SETTING: A teaching hospital in the Republic of Korea, 2003–2009.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of previous tuberculosis (TB) treatment history on sputum smear and culture conversion.

DESIGN: Data, including sputum acid-fast bacilli (AFB) results at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24, were collected from patients with AFB sputum smear-positive and culture-confirmed pulmonary TB. Patients with multidrug-resistant TB or those with poor adherence were excluded. AFB conversion was compared between patients with a previous history of anti-tuberculosis treatment and those without.

RESULTS: The median age of the 208 patients was 49.0 years; 58.3% were male, while 43 (20.7%) had a history of previous anti-tuberculosis treatment. Patients with a history of previous treatment had significantly lower sputum smear-negative conversion at 2 weeks of treatment compared with patients without (70.0% vs. 44.8%, P = 0.005). However, the two groups did not differ in culture conversion and in smear conversion at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 weeks of anti-tuberculosis treatment.

CONCLUSION: Patients with a history of previous anti-tuberculosis treatment are more likely to have positive sputum AFB smear at 2 weeks of treatment. However, sputum culture conversion is not affected by previous treatment history.
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Keywords: infectivity; isolation; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Lung Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea 2: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Seoul Veterans Hospital, Seoul, South Korea 3: 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, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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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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