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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1999 Nov-Dec;94(6):787-90.

Predictive value of the acid fast smear for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in respiratory specimens in a reference center of HIV/AIDS in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Unidade de Pesquisa, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 21941-590, Brasil.


In order to evaluate the predictive value of acid fast bacilii (AFB) smear for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in respiratory specimens in a setting with a high prevalence of AIDS and an unknown prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), we retrospectively examined specimens cultured for mycobacteria between 1 September 1993 and 30 September 1994 and medical records of patients with positive culture in a General Hospital, AIDS reference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Seventy three per cent (1517/2077) of samples were respiratory specimens and mycobacteria were recovered from 20.6% (313/1517) of these. M. tuberculosis was identified in 94.2% (295/313) and NTM in 5.8% (18/313). The yield of positive AFB smear and of positive culture was 6.1% (93/1517) and 20.6% (313/1517), respectively. The positive predictive value (PPV) of AFB for M. tuberculosis was 98.4% in expectorated sputum and 96.4% in bronchoalveolar lavage. Forty four percent (130/295) of specimens with positive culture for M. tuberculosis and 66.7% (12/18) for NTM were from patients HIV positive. The conclusion was that in our study population, the PPV of AFB for M. tuberculosis in respiratory specimens was high and the prevalence of NTM was low despite the high prevalence of HIV positive.

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