Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2008 Apr;12(4):397-403.

Normal chest radiography in pulmonary tuberculosis: implications for obtaining respiratory specimen cultures.

Author information

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.



Urban tuberculosis (TB) clinic, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Chest radiographs (CXRs) help in the diagnosis of pulmonary TB, but may be normal. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in culture is diagnostic of TB, but cultures are not routinely obtained in resource-poor settings. We examined rates and risk factors for pulmonary TB associated with normal CXR.


An observational cohort study was performed among all respiratory culture-positive TB cases referred to the Nashville Health Department from October 1992 to July 2003. Clinical factors, demographics and underlying medical conditions were assessed.


Of 601 study patients, 53 (9%) had normal CXRs: 31/138 (22%) were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected and 22/463 (5%) were non-HIV-infected/unknown (P<0.001). Among HIV-infected patients, normal CXR was more likely in persons with renal failure (13% vs. 3%, P=0.048). Among non-HIV-infected/unknown patients, normal CXR was more likely in those who were asymptomatic at presentation (32% vs. 13%, P=0.022). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, HIV infection was associated with an increased risk of normal CXR (odds ratio [OR] 6.61, P<0.0001); factors associated with reduced risk were dyspnea (OR 0.24, P=0.026), positive sputum smear (OR 0.45, P=0.028) and cough (OR 0.48, P=0.038).


The rate of normal CXR among persons with culture-confirmed pulmonary TB was high. Respiratory specimen cultures should be obtained in TB suspects with a normal CXR, particularly HIV-infected persons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Ingenta plc
Loading ...
Support Center