Clinical Evaluation of Tuberculosis Viability Microscopy for Assessing Treatment Response

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Background. It is difficult to determine whether early tuberculosis treatment is effective in reducing the infectiousness of patients' sputum, because culture takes weeks and conventional acid-fast sputum microscopy and molecular tests cannot differentiate live from dead tuberculosis.

Methods. To assess treatment response, sputum samples (n = 124) from unselected patients (n = 35) with sputum microscopy–positive tuberculosis were tested pretreatment and after 3, 6, and 9 days of empiric first-line therapy. Tuberculosis quantitative viability microscopy with fluorescein diacetate, quantitative culture, and acid-fast auramine microscopy were all performed in triplicate.

Results. Tuberculosis quantitative viability microscopy predicted quantitative culture results such that 76% of results agreed within ±1 logarithm (rS = 0.85; P < .0001). In 31 patients with non-multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, viability and quantitative culture results approximately halved (both 0.27 log reduction, P < .001) daily. For patients with non-MDR tuberculosis and available data, by treatment day 9 there was a >10-fold reduction in viability in 100% (24/24) of cases and quantitative culture in 95% (19/20) of cases. Four other patients subsequently found to have MDR tuberculosis had no significant changes in viability (P = .4) or quantitative culture (P = .6) results during early treatment. The change in viability and quantitative culture results during early treatment differed significantly between patients with non-MDR tuberculosis and those with MDR tuberculosis (both P < .001). Acid-fast microscopy results changed little during early treatment, and this change was similar for non-MDR tuberculosis vs MDR tuberculosis (P = .6).

Conclusions. Tuberculosis quantitative viability microscopy is a simple test that within 1 hour predicted quantitative culture results that became available weeks later, rapidly indicating whether patients were responding to tuberculosis therapy.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles