541. Delays in suspicion and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis: a retrospective study of a tertiary health service in Western Melbourne, 2011-2014
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Tuberculosis Epidemiology and Diagnosis
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Room: Poster Hall
  • IDSA TB Poster Final.pdf (547.8 kB)
  • Background:

    Effective tuberculosis (TB) control relies on early diagnosis and prompt commencement of treatment. Australia has maintained a low annual incidence rate of TB since the mid-1980s of 5-6 cases per 100, 000 persons. This study aimed to investigate delays in diagnosis of pulmonary TB in a low incidence setting. 


    A retrospective study was conducted in a tertiary teaching hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Symptomatic patients ≥ 18 years with a new diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis that were commenced on treatment between 1st December 2011 and 1st December 2014 were identified for enrolment via Victorian Department of Public Health notification data and hospital Australian Discharge Related Group codes.


    133 patients were included in the study. The median duration of patient delay, health care system delay and total delay in diagnosis were 28 [13-90], 18 [7-53] and 89 [22-151] days, respectively. Median duration from hospital admission to diagnosis was 3 [0-8] days. Factors associated with increased patient delay included weight loss (OR 3.5, 95%CI 1.7-7.2, p<0.001) and increased smoking pack years (Mean 5.83 vs 14.07, p=0.01). Factors associated with increased health care delay included migration from a low risk country (OR 8.74, 95% CI 1.06-72.20, p=0.04) and outpatient clinic review (OR 8.96 95% CI 3.9-20.3, p<0.001). Protective factors against health care delay included cough (OR 0.11, 95%CI 0.01-0.93, p=0.02), haemoptysis (OR 0.31, 95%CI 0.12-0.81, p=0.01), emergency (OR 0.34, 95%CI 0.17-0.71, p=0.01) or hospital (OR 0.13, 95%CI 0.04-0.41, p<0.001) admission and sputum smear (OR 0.15, 95%CI 0.06-0.37, p<0.001), culture (OR 0.38, 95%CI 0.15-0.98, p=0.04) or Gene Xpert (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.25-0.99, p=0.05) positivity. Older age was associated with increased total delay to diagnosis (median 32 [25-50] vs 42 [26-62], p=0.01).


    In a low-incidence, high-resource country, patient delays contribute most to total health care delay. Longer total delays are seen in older patients. Healthcare delays are longer in those reviewed in an outpatient setting; whereas admission to the emergency department or ward are protective against health care delays. Positive sputum smears and Gene Xpert also reduce healthcare delays.

    Eloise Williams, MBBS, BMedSci, MPHTM1,2, Stephen D Guy, MBBS (Hons), FRACP1 and Garry Lane, MBBS (Hons), FRACP, MMedSci(ClinEpi), MQIHC1, (1)Infectious Diseases, Western Health, Footscray, Australia, (2)Infectious Diseases, Alfred Health, Prahran, Australia


    E. Williams, None

    S. D. Guy, None

    G. Lane, None

    Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. CDT, Wednesday Oct. 26th with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.