Optimizing Tuberculosis Diagnosis in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Inpatients Meeting the Criteria of Seriously Ill in the World Health Organization Algorithm

Rulan Griesel, Annemie Stewart, Helen van der Plas, Welile Sikhondze, Molebogeng X. Rangaka, Mark P. Nicol, Andre P. Kengne, Marc Mendelson, Gary Maartens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. The World Health Organization (WHO) algorithm for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in seriously ill human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients lacks a firm evidence base. We aimed to develop a clinical prediction rule for the diagnosis of tuberculosis and to determine the diagnostic utility of the Xpert MTB/RIF assay in seriously ill HIV-infected patients.

Methods. We conducted a prospective study among HIV-infected inpatients with any cough duration and WHO-defined danger signs. Culture-positive tuberculosis from any site was the reference standard. A priori selected variables were assessed for univariate associations with tuberculosis. The most predictive variables were assessed in a multivariate logistic regression model and used to establish a clinical prediction rule for diagnosing tuberculosis.

Results. We enrolled 484 participants. The median age was 36 years, 65.5% were female, the median CD4 count was 89 cells/mu L, and 35.3% were on antiretroviral therapy. Tuberculosis was diagnosed in 52.7% of participants. The c-statistic of our clinical prediction rule (variables: cough >= 14 days, unable to walk unaided, temperature >39 degrees C, chest radiograph assessment, hemoglobin, and white cell count) was 0.811 (95% confidence interval,.802-.819). The classic tuberculosis symptoms (fever, night sweats, weight loss) added no discriminatory value in diagnosing tuberculosis. Xpert MTB/RIF assay sensitivity was 86.3% and specificity was 96.1%.

Conclusions. Our clinical prediction rule had good diagnostic utility for tuberculosis among seriously ill HIV-infected inpatients. Xpert MTB/RIF assay, incorporated into the updated 2016 WHO algorithm, had high sensitivity and specificity in this population. Our findings could facilitate improved diagnosis of tuberculosis among seriously ill HIV-infected inpatients in resource-constrained settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1426
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this