Chest X-ray and bacteriology in the initial phase of treatment of 800 male patients with pulmonary tuberculosis
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Objective: To evaluate chest X-rays of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and to determine whether the extent of radiographic lesions correlates with bacteriological parameters. Methods: In this retrospective, descriptive study, we evaluated chest X-rays, as well as AFB detection by smear microscopy and culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, initially and during the first two months of treatment, in 800 male patients hospitalized between 1995 and the present at a 250-bed hospital in northwestern Turkey. Results: The initial mean ESR was 58 +/- 37 mm/h. Initial sputum smears and cultures were positive in 83.8% and 89.5% of the patients, respectively. After the first month of treatment, the proportion of patients with positive sputum culture was higher among those with cavitary tuberculosis than among those with non-cavitary tuberculosis (53.7% vs. 37.7%, p < 0.001). The number of affected zones was not correlated with age, symptom duration, contact with an active tuberculosis patient, or concomitant diabetes (p > 0.05 for all) but was positively correlated with the ESR (r = 0.23, p < 0.001). During the first and second months of treatment, conversion to smear-negative status was less common in patients with bilateral involvement than in those with unilateral involvement (p < 0.001 and p = 0.002 for months 1 and 2, respectively). Disease extent did not correlate with age, symptom duration, contact with an active tuberculosis patient, or concomitant diabetes but did correlate with delayed bacteriological recovery. Conclusions: Chest X-ray and bacteriology are valuable tools for the evaluation of pulmonary tuberculosis.