JTR  Vol.5 No.2 , June 2017
Revisiting Acid-Fast Bacilli Microscopy of Concentrated Sputum Smears as an Efficient Tool for the Diagnosis of Tuberculosis: A Study from a Tertiary Care Centre in Southern India
Abstract: Background and objectives: With 2.2 million new cases every year, Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be an epidemic of large proportions in India. Conventional direct sputum smear microscopy, though limited in its sensitivity, is still the most common method of testing for TB. Newer techniques such as concentrated sputum microscopy, have shown some promise in improving this limited sensitivity. We have compared the efficacy of concentrated sputum versus the direct smear technique in 1000 sputum samples of patients suspected to be suffering from TB. Methods: A total of 1000 sputum specimens were collected for direct acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear, concentrated AFB smear and culture from St. John’s Medical College and Hospital. 39 contaminated samples were (3.9%) omitted during the final analysis. Mycobacterial culture was used as the reference standard method for the detection of TB. Results: 184 and 198 of the 961 samples were found to AFB positive by direct smear microscopy and concentrated smear technique respectively. The measured sensitivity and specificity of direct smear microscopy were 69.86% and 95.82%, while that of concentrated smear microscopy was 76.71% and 95.96 % respectively. 33 samples found to be negative by the direct smear method turned out to be positive by the concentrated smear technique. Conclusions: Though our study suggests no significant statistical difference between the two techniques of detecting pulmonary tuberculosis, we recommend the use of the concentrated technique in centres such as ours, where facilities are already in place. In this way, the number of cases of TB that remain untreated may significantly come down.
Cite this paper: Kumar, J. , Dhar, C. and Srinivasa, H. (2017) Revisiting Acid-Fast Bacilli Microscopy of Concentrated Sputum Smears as an Efficient Tool for the Diagnosis of Tuberculosis: A Study from a Tertiary Care Centre in Southern India. Journal of Tuberculosis Research, 5, 146-154. doi: 10.4236/jtr.2017.52016.

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