Earlier studies from Latin America, Africa, and China had suggested that people with a history of tuberculosis had a higher chance of COPD, a lung disorder with symptoms such as cough, difficulty in breathing, and fatigue.
A number of patients who have successful completion of tuberculosis treatment may continue to exhibit poor lung function and risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), suggests a recent study published in the journal PLOS One. The high percentage of undiagnosed lung defects, such as COPD, especially in the young non-smokers known to be cured of tuberculosis, is a matter of concern.
The researchers studied 172 patients for a year after they had successfully declared to be cured of pulmonary tuberculosis. The study observed that 42 of them which is 24% had airflow obstruction issue. More than half of the patients, 25 to be accurate, with airflow obstruction were diagnosed with COPD when they failed to respond to the conventional bronchodilator medicines. The COPD detected patients are receiving additional medications and are under follow-up care.
Akshay Gupte, the lead author of the study who is an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Clinical Global Health Education in the US accepted that high proportion of COPD in a number of young patients is a matter of concern, and thus the current guidelines to follow up on patients who are cured of TB need to be reformed.
Smoking and exposure to air pollution were known to be the primary factors for COPD, and the non-smokers are usually excluded from the possibility of COPD. The researchers now admit that this may need to change for patients with a history of tuberculosis.
The doctors are yet unaware of the long-term consequences of such patients. Though, the study suggests, delays in treating tuberculosis may aggravate the risk of airway obstruction. The researchers say the precise reason for the residual lung injury is unknown yet and thus need to be investigated through more studies to guide the treatment.
Source: Review Health World