Non-tuberculous mycobacteria in patients with bronchiectasis

Wickremasinghe, M.; Ozerovitch, L. J.; Davies, G.; Wodehouse, T.; Chadwick, M. V.; Abdallah, S.; Shah, P.; Wilson, R.
December 2005
Thorax;Dec2005, Vol. 60 Issue 12, p1045
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous environmental organisms. Patients with pre-existing lung damage are susceptible to NTM, but their prevalence in bronchiectasis is unknown. Distinguishing between lung colonisation and disease can be difficult. Methods: A prospective study of 100 patients with bronchiectasis was undertaken to evaluate the prevalence of NTM in sputum, and a retrospective analysis of clinical, microbiological, lung function and radiology data of our clinic patients with NTM sputum isolates over 11 years was performed. Results: The prevalence of NTM in this population of patients with bronchiectasis was 2%. Patients in the retrospective study were divided into three groups: bronchiectasis+multiple NTM isolates (n=25), bronchiectasis+single isolates (n=23), and non-bronchiectasis+multiple isolates (n=22). Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) species predominated in patients with bronchiectasis compared with non-bronchiectasis lung disease (72% v 9%, p<0.0001). Single isolates were also frequently MAC (45.5%). Multiple isolates in bronchiectasis were more often smear positive on first sample than single isolates (p<0.0001). NTM were identified on routine screening samples or because of suggestive radiology. No particular bronchiectasis aetiology was associated with an NTM. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus were frequently co-cultured. Six (25%) of multiple NTM patients had cavities of which five were due to MAC. Half the patients with multiple isolates were treated, mostly due to progressive radiology. Conclusions: NTM are uncommon in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Routine screening identifies otherwise unsuspected patients. MAC is the most frequent NTM isolated.


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