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Free Content Treatment outcomes, diagnostic and therapeutic impact: Xpert vs. smear. A systematic review and meta-analysis

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BACKGROUND: Compared with smear microscopy, Xpert® MTB/RIF has the potential to reduce delays in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment initiation, and improve treatment outcomes. We reviewed publications comparing treatment outcomes of drug-susceptible TB patients diagnosed using Xpert vs. smear.

METHODS: Citations (2000–2016) reporting treatment outcomes of patients diagnosed using Xpert compared with smear were selected from PubMed, Scopus and conference abstracts. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. Favorable (cured, completed) and unfavorable (failure, death, loss to follow-up) outcomes were pooled for meta-analysis; we also reviewed the number of TB cases diagnosed, time to treatment and empiric treatment. The Mantel-Haenszel method with a fixed-effect model was used; I 2 was calculated to measure heterogeneity.

RESULTS: From 13 citations, 43 594 TB patients were included and 4825 were with known TB treatment outcome. From the pooled analysis, an unfavorable outcomes among those diagnosed using Xpert compared with smear was 20.2%, 541/2675 vs. 21.9%, 470/2150 (risk ratio 0.92, 95%CI 0.82–1.02). Statistical heterogeneity was low (I 2 = 0.0%, P = 0.910). Compared with smear, Xpert was reported to be superior in increasing the number of TB patients diagnosed (2/9 citations), increasing bacteriologically confirmed TB (7/9 citations), reducing empiric treatment (3/5 citations), reducing time to diagnosis (2/3 citations), and reducing time to treatment initiation (1/5 citations).

CONCLUSIONS: Xpert implementation showed no discernible impact on treatment outcomes compared with conventional smear despite reduced time to diagnosis, time to treatment or reduced level of empiric treatment. Further research is required to learn more about gaps in the existing health system.
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Keywords: Xpert; patient-level; smear; treatment outcome

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gaborone, Botswana, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana 2: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gaborone, Botswana, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination 3: Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 4: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gaborone, Botswana 5: Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Aurum Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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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 lung health world-wide.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

    Certain IJTLD articles are also selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. These are available on the Union website.

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