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Timely Pulmonary Tuberculosis Diagnosis Based on the Epidemiological Disease Spectrum: Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study in the Republic of Koreaopen access

Ko, YousangPark, Jae SeukMin, JinsooKim, Hyung WooKoo, Hyeon-KyoungOh, Jee YounJeong, Yun-JeongLee, EunhyeYang, BumheeKim, Ju SangLee, Sung-SoonKwon, YunhyungYang, JiyeonHang, JiyeonHan, Ji YeonJang, You JinKim, Jinseob
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JMIR Publications
pulmonary tuberculosis; disease spectrum; timely diagnosis; patient delay; health care delay; risk factor; epidemiological disease; tuberculosis; treatment; TB; PTB disease spectrum; mortality; early diagnosis
JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, v.10
Journal Title
JMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Background: Timely pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) diagnosis is a global health priority for interrupting transmission and optimizing treatment outcomes. The traditional dichotomous time-divided approach for addressing time delays in diagnosis has limited clinical application because the time delay significantly varies depending on each community in question. Objective: We aimed to reevaluate the diagnosis time delay based on the PTB disease spectrum using a novel scoring system that was applied at the national level in the Republic of Korea. Methods: The Pulmonary Tuberculosis Spectrum Score (PTBSS) was developed based on previously published proposals related to the disease spectrum, and its validity was assessed by examining both all-cause and PTB-related mortality. In our analysis, we integrated the PTBSS into the Korea Tuberculosis Cohort Registry. We evaluated various time delays, including patient, health care, and overall delays, and their system -associated variables in line with each PTBSS. Furthermore, we reclassified the scores into distinct categories of mild (PTBSS=0-1), moderate (PBTBSS=2-3), and severe (PBTBSS=4-6) using a multivariate regression approach. Results: Among the 14,031 Korean patients with active PTB whose data were analyzed from 2018 to 2020, 37% (n=5191), 38% (n=5328), and 25% (n=3512) were classified as having a mild, moderate, and severe disease status, respectively, according to the PTBSS. This classification can therefore reflect the disease spectrum of PTB by considering the correlation of the score with mortality. The time delay patterns differed according to the PTBSS. In health care delays according to the PTBSS, greater PTB disease progression was associated with a shorter diagnosis period, since the condition is microbiologically easy to diagnose. However, with respect to patient delays, the change in elapsed time showed a U-shaped pattern as PTB progressed. This means that a remarkable patient delay in the real -world setting might occur at both apical ends of the spectrum (ie, in both mild and severe cases of PTB). Independent risk factors for a severe PTB pattern were age (adjusted odds ratio 1.014) and male sex (adjusted odds ratio 1.422), whereas no significant risk factor was found for mild PTB. Conclusions: Timely PTB diagnosis should be accomplished. This can be improved with use of the PTBSS, a simple and intuitive scoring system, which can be more helpful in clinical and public health applications compared to the traditional dichotomous time -only approach.
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Oh, Jee Youn
Guro Hospital (Department of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Guro Hospital)
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