A Clinical Prediction Score Including Trial of Antibiotics and C-Reactive Protein to Improve the Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Ambulatory People With HIV

By Tom H. Boyles, Matilda Nduna, Thalitha Pitsi, Lesley Scott  Dr. Matthew Fox  Gary Maartens  |  | 

Background. The use of a “trial of antibiotics” as empiric therapy for bacterial pneumonia as a diagnostic tool for tuberculosis in people with HIV (PWH) was removed from World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations in 2007, based on expert opinion. Current guidelines recommend antibiotics only after 2 Xpert MTB/RIF tests (if available), chest x-ray, and clinical assessment have suggested that tuberculosis is unlikely. Despite this, a “trial of antibiotics” remains common in algorithms in low-resource settings, but its value is uncertain. C-reactive protein (CRP), which has been proposed as a “rule-out” test for tuberculosis, may be an objective marker of response to antibiotics.
Methods. We performed a passive case-finding cohort study of adult PWH with a positive WHO symptom screen. All participants received antibiotics at first visit according to the local protocol and were reviewed to ascertain clinical response. Point-of-care CRP was measured at both visits. All patients had sputum tested with Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra (Ultra), and the reference standard was based on 2 sputum mycobacterial cultures. We explored multivariable prediction models (MPM) for tuberculosis based on 1 or 2

Publication details

Open Forum Infectious Diseases