Drug-resistant tuberculosis in patients with minimal symptoms: Favourable outcomes in the absence of treatment

M. Loveday, A. Ramjee, G. Osburn, I. Master, G. Kabera, J. C.M. Brust, N. Padayatchi, R. Warren, G. Theron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


SETTING: Referral hospital for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. OBJECTIVE : To review the clinical outcomes of patients (age ≥ 14 years) with a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of DR-TB who had minimal symptoms and/or did not have chest radiographic evidence of active disease at referral. These patients were not started on treatment, but were enrolled in an observation programme with follow-up at 2, 6 and 12 months. RESULTS : Of 3345 referred patients diagnosed with DR-TB, 192 (6%) were enrolled in the observation programme. The median duration from initial sputum collection in primary care to examination at our hospital was 92 days (IQR 64-124). After 12 months, 120 (62%) patients were well, 36 (19%) were lost to follow-up, 30 (16%) had deteriorated and were started on second-line anti-tuberculosis treatment and 6 (3%) had died. Bilateral disease (OR 4.25, 95%CI 1.14-15.77, P = 0.030) and previous TB (OR 2.14, 95%CI 1.10-4.19, P = 0.026) were independent predictors of an unfavourable end result in a multivariate model. CONCLUSION: In our high-burden setting, most patients diagnosed with DR-TB who had minimal symptoms at referral remained well without treatment. Longitudinal observation, coupled with symptom checking and chest radiograph, is a viable strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-563
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Asymptomatic
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Drug-resistant tuberculosis in patients with minimal symptoms: Favourable outcomes in the absence of treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this