Treatment outcome of new smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients in Penang, Malaysia

Muhammad Atif, Syed A.S. Sulaiman, Asrul A. Shafie, Irfhan Ali, Muhammad Asif, Zaheer Ud Din Babar

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Background: According to the World Health Organization's recent report, in Malaysia, tuberculosis (TB) treatment success rate for new smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients is still below the global success target of 85%. In this study, we evaluated TB treatment outcome among new smear positive PTB patients, and identified the predictors of unsuccessful treatment outcome and longer duration of treatment (i.e., > 6 months).Methods: The population in this study consisted of all new smear positive PTB patients who were diagnosed at the chest clinic of Penang General Hospital between March 2010 and February 2011. During the study period, a standardized data collection form was used to obtain socio-demographic, clinical and treatment related data of the patients from their medical charts and TB notification forms (Tuberculosis Information System; TBIS). These data sources were reviewed at the time of the diagnosis of the patients and then at the subsequent follow-up visits until their final treatment outcomes were available. The treatment outcomes of the patients were reported in line with six outcome categories recommended by World Health Organization. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to find the independent risk factors for unsuccessful treatment outcome and longer treatment duration. Data were analyzed using the PASW (Predictive Analysis SoftWare, version 19.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp).Results: Among the 336 PTB patients (236 male and 100 female) notified during the study period, the treatment success rate was 67.26% (n = 226). Out of 110 patients in unsuccessful outcome category, 30 defaulted from the treatment, 59 died and 21 were transferred to other health care facilities. The mean duration of TB treatment was 8.19 (SD 1.65) months. In multiple logistic regression analysis, risk factors for unsuccessful treatment outcome were foreign nationality, male gender and being illiterate. Similarly, risk factors for mortality due to TB included high-grade sputum and presence of lung cavities at the start of treatment, being alcoholic and elderly. Likewise, concurrent diabetes, presence of lung cavities at the start of the treatment and being a smoker were the significant predictors of longer treatment duration.Conclusion: Our findings indicated that the treatment success rate among the new smear positive PTB patients was less than the success target set by World Health Organization. The proportion of patients in the successful outcome category may be increased by closely monitoring the treatment progress of the patients with aforementioned high risk characteristics. Similarly, more aggressive follow-up of the treatment defaulters and transferred out patients could also improve the TB treatment success rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number399
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


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