Culture-Confirmed Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Children: Clinical Features, Treatment, and Outcome

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Background. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis in children is frequently associated with delayed diagnosis and treatment. There is limited evidence regarding the management and outcome of children with MDR-tuberculosis.Methods. All children <15 years of age with a diagnosis of culture-confirmed MDR-tuberculosis were included in this retrospective cohort study from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2008, with follow-up documented until 31 May 2011. We identified children from Brooklyn Hospital for Chest Diseases and Tygerberg Children’s Hospital, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Treatment outcomes were defined as 2-month sputum-culture conversion, treatment episode outcome, and survival.Results. A total of 111 children (median age, 50 months) were included. The diagnosis was delayed in children who had no identified MDR-tuberculosis index case (median delay, 123 vs 58 days; P < .001). Sixty-two percent of patients (53 of 85) were sputum-smear positive, and 43% of patients (43 of 100) were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected. Overall, 82% had favorable treatment outcomes; total mortality was 12%. Malnutrition was associated with failure to culture-convert at 2 months (odds ratio [OR], 4.49 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.32–15.2]; P = .02) and death (OR, 15.0 [95% CI, 1.17–192.5]; P = .04) in multivariate analysis. HIV coinfection (OR, 24.7 [95% CI, 1.79–341.1]; P = .02) and the presence of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (OR, 37.8 [95% CI, 2.78–513.4]; P = .006) predicted death.Conclusions. Despite advanced disease at presentation and a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus coinfection, children with MDR-tuberculosis can be treated successfully, using individualized treatment under routine conditions.

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