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Free Content Reducing the string test intra-gastric downtime for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

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OBJECTIVES: To explore the potential for reducing the procedural duration of the string test for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) using microscopic observation drug susceptibility (MODS) culture.

METHODS: Twelve patients already diagnosed with pulmonary TB, four each with sputum smear acid-fast bacilli grade 1+, 2+ and 3+, underwent four consecutive string tests of varying intra-gastric downtime (IGDT) of 30 min, 1, 2 and 4 h. Each retrieved string was cut into three—one oesophageal and two gastric sections. Eluates from one of the gastric sections and the oesophageal section were cultured in MODS after a decontamination procedure; eluate from the other gastric section was cultured in MODS with no decontamination.

RESULTS: No significant difference was observed in the retrieval efficacy of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (P = 0.29) or time to positive MODS culture (P = 0.80) among string tests of varying IGDTs. Every patient with a sample that was positive after a 4-h IGDT also had positive culture of a 1-h IGDT sample. A pre-inoculation sample decontamination step significantly reduced culture contamination (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In smear-positive patients, reducing the IGDT to 1 h did not affect the M. tuberculosis retrieval efficacy of the string test. Future evaluations in non-expectorating human immunodeficiency virus and paediatric populations should include a 1-h IGDT.
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Keywords: diagnosis; string test; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 2: Hospital Nacional Dos de Mayo, Lima, Peru 3: The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA 4: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru 5: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; and Wellcome Trust Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) is for clinical research and epidemiological studies on lung health, including articles on TB, TB-HIV and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, COPD, child lung health and the hazards of tobacco and air pollution. Individuals and institutes can subscribe to the IJTLD online or in print – simply email us at [email protected] for details.

    The IJTLD is dedicated to understanding lung disease and to the dissemination of knowledge leading to better lung health. To allow us to share scientific research as rapidly as possible, the IJTLD is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles as preprints prior to their publication. Read fast-track articles.

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